Rich grew up on Chicago’s West Side
and moved to the Oak Park area. In
the summer of 1973 after graduating
from St. Catherine’s, Rich was
introduced to Pete Chrisos. At that
time they formed the Who, a park
district team at Stevenson Park under
the direction of Frank Zepf. It was
sponsored by Petersen’s Ice Cream.
The Who went on to win the CYO
Championship against Kelly’s Bricks
at Riis Park in Chicago. This team
evolved into the Chicago Takers, sponsored by P.M. Smith Funeral home.
The Takers began a winning tradition, starting with winning the Oak Park River Forest High School league in consecutive years. The Takers then went on to win the Amundsen Parks Men’s Sunday League in the 1977- 1978 seasons. Under the suggestion of Park Director Frank Lentine (HOF), the Takers went on a four-year tear of park district leagues. Those included Amundsen Park (weekly), Sayre Park and Kosciuszko Park. Then
in 1981, the Takers continued their winning ways by beating the Playboys at the highly touted Portage Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side.
Player/Manager Rich Polfus was then introduced to Tom Hennigan. Tom was instrumental in bringing the Takers to the Hamlin, Independence and Welles Park leagues. Rich managed the team to championships in all three leagues. In 1982, The Takers/Monks beat The Rocks in the highly coveted Clarendon Park League championship. This was the pinnacle in softball for a neighborhood team.
Rich continued his thirty-year player/manager status by guiding The Takers, Moosehead Beer/Wedge, Budweiser-Louisville Slugger, to numerous USSSA and ASA Nationals. His personal highlights included
a Co-MVP of the Budweiser Chicago Citywide Ring Tournament in 1983 and a 1986 win at the Chicago Desplaines ASA Metro against The Lords. Rich always
preferred the City of Chicago game with its neighborhood rivalries as opposed to the national scene. IN 1994, Rich helped HOF Manager Sal Vasta and Hollywood Casino win the ASA Major title. The next year they combined again, this time with Thee Dollhouse to win the Forest Park No Gloves championship.
Over that thirty-year period, Rich had
the pleasure of playing and managing with numerous HOF players such as Stan Bachusz, Pat
Moran, and Angelo Alecia and other impact players including Jim Walsh, Bobby Olsen, Delpho Bianchini and Mike O’Neil. Another highlight for Rich was witnessing one of his players, Kevin Lund, win the Home Run Championship at Comiskey Park. Rich
was also instrumental in developing the 50 – and – Over Takers Softball Team, which is currently a powerhouse in the Clyde Park League.
Rich ensured his teams were always well sponsored through team fundraising events such as the legendary Rock n Roll Candlelight Bowl, and many corporate sponsors including Budweiser and its relationship with Louisville Slugger. Rich and Louisville Slugger’s Rex Bradley co-developed the Chicago-style wooden sixteen- inch softball bat.
Annually, Rich helps host a major community event “Christmas with a Cause”, a charity fundraiser that
is supported by former players, good friends, unions, including the elevator, construction, and liquor warehouse unions. Through the years of playing and managing, Rich is thankful for lifelong friendships and strong family support from his great brother Ed and Ed’s wife, Julie.
Rich is currently retired, a former vice president of Goldman Sachs and a member of the CME Group. Rich is single and resides in Forest Park, home of the Sixteen- inch Softball Hall of Fame.