Ray Topps

When he began his softball career in the Grant Park Industrial League, a young Ray Topps experienced a moment few players ever got the change to experience; he played on the same field with his father, Ray Topolski, a fellow Hall of Famer, who retired from softball in 1970. Ray went on to play with the Loafers at Kelly Park and the Nocturnes at Kelly Park and Windy City. In 1978, the Nocturnes went undefeated at Kelly Park. A feat never accomplish before or since. Topps then moved to the Bobcats and remained with them until many of the players decided to play in the 12” professional league. After that, he and a few friends played with the newly formed Whips. Four National Championships later, Topps was lured to play with his neighborhood friends on Touch. In 1985 Touch emerged from the loser’s bracket to clinch a National Championship, a win made all the more poignant by winning with old neighborhood friends. After Touch disbanded, in 1990, Ray, Mike Caputo, Joel Zimberoff and Rich Melman formed Lettuce, for which Topps played and coached until his retirement in 1998. During his 28 years career, Tops won eight ASA Major National titles, six USSSA Nationals, and one NSA title. Named to numerous All-Star teams, he most treasures being named Outstanding Player in Cook County in 1979. Known as a power hitter early in his career, Topps evolved into an excellent clutch hitter with a 500 lifetime batting average. In addition to his softball skills, Ray Topps also excelled in basketball at Brother Rice High School. He played on varsity for four years; two on the light weight team and two on the heavy weight team. Brother Rice was Catholic Co-Champions with Leo High School in 1973. Ray was named to the All-Catholic Lightweight Team in 1971 and was named All-Area Honorable Mention in 1973. In 2001, Ray Topps still enjoyed playing softball with fellow Touch teammates in the LaGrange 40 & Over League. He was owner and operator of Topps Construction Company in Chicago, living in the Garfield Ridge area with his wife of 26 years, Debbie. They have three children; Jenny (Monahan), Ray III and Jackie.