Paul Leonard

      Blue Island resident Paul Leonard made his transition from a 16″ softball player to an umpire early in his career for a simple reason – he needed money after getting married. In 31 years behind the plate, Leonard would approach each game as if it was the most important of his umpiring career. In 1952 he joined  the Official Umpires Protective Association and umpired in leagues on the Southside and at Grant Park. He also officiated at Grant Park’s Tournament of Champions and numerous industrial leagues. In 1964 Paul formed the Professional Registered Officials under Charlie Jensen and partnered with the ASA where he worked the ASA Nationals in Chicago. From 1964 to ’71 Leonard umpired in every ASA National Tournament in cities around the midwest, and was named Umpire-in-Chief at the 1970 National Tournament. As ASA District Commissioner, Leonard raised his area’s registration from twelve teams in 1964 to 460 in the 1970’s. Meanwhile, Paul also continued his PRO Group affiliation , officiating in over 30 leagues. Paul Leonard left the ASA and, with Les Duncan, united four umpiring groups into the Metro Umpires Alliance, which then hooked up with the USSSA with over 120 umpires. Leonard was named to the Illinois Softball Hall of Fame in 1981 and retired from umpiring in 1983. Paul and his wife, Lorraine, have three girls, three boys, thirteen grandchildren and one great grandchild. He is now retired from Commonwealth Edison.