For many years, the Doran brothers, Rich, Jerry and John, and Vito Povilaitis of Mt. Greenwood were the nucleus of many youth baseball teams until they began their softball careers by assembling a softball team called the Trumbullies. They played at Mt. Greenwood in 1972 and 1973. Like many young teams, they weren’t as competitive as they hoped, so they set out to recruit new players. John Doran attended Western Illinois University and it was there in September of 1973 that he met Dave “Jake” Jacobson from Park Ridge. Jake suggested they form a union of top players from the North and South Sides of Chicago. Jake recruited top talent from the North Side with Tony Reibel (HOF), Derek Singleton, Bill Spicer and Ron Ziemann (HOF) of the Amalgamonsters. In 1974, they began competing as the People’s Choice.
Both Rich Doran and Sam Taylor of the Flamingos attended Chicago State University, where they were stars on the nationally ranked wrestling team. After Rich saw Sam on the intramural softball field, he knew he had to have him on People’s Choice! It took some time, but eventually Sam joined the team in 1976 and overnight the “Choice” became a force to be reckoned with now that they had one of the best 16 – inch softball players in the City of Chicago!
Sam Taylor also had a pipeline of talent that brought Drake Jones and Stanley Brown from the Flamingos and Odell Humphries into the fold in 1977. These players added to a solid nucleus that consisted of players from other teams: Gary Ringhofer, added in 1979 from the Condors, Angelo Moca (Tahoe), Rich Ladewig and Frank Mioni (Whips), Ron Peltz and Bob Steadman (Renegades), Tom Kevin, Joe Moms and Tom O’Malley.
John Doran landed their first sponsor: the Chicagoland Plumbing Council, a sponsorship that would last from 1976 to 1981. They would make Mt. Greenwood their home park. They would also be sponsored by Tally’s Pub in Ford City Shopping Center and Klehm Nurseries of Arlington Heights.
An integrated team, with a strong desire to win, People’s Choice played all over the city and suburbs and always fared well. Though not always welcomed wherever they went, they thrived on winning and being the enemy. They dominated Mt. Greenwood Park from 1974 to 1992. They won championships in three different decades (70’s, 80’s and 90’s) to go along with numerous championships in Mt. Greenwood. They also won league championships in Arlington Heights, Bensenville, Itasca, Mt. Prospect, Roselle, Schaumburg, Wood Dale and Hamlin Park. Other team highlights include:
1.1979- Record: 83-9
2.1980- Six players named as Mt. Greenwood All-Stars
3.1982- Won all four leagues in Mt. Greenwood (first grand slam in park history)
4.1982- Twelve players nominated for the All-Chicago All-Star Team
5.Won three of four league titles in Mt. Greenwood Park three times
6.Won the Mt. Greenwood Sunday League title fourteen times in a fifteen year stretch
Softball legends and future Hall of Famers Ron Ziemann, Benny Holt, Jack Kelly, Mark Frighetto, Ken Flaws, Steve Prostran and Ken Cooper all played with People’s Choice through the years when their schedules permitted. In 1992, the People’s Choice ended their years of competition by winning the league titles at Mt. Greenwood and Hamlin Parks.