Richard “Richie Commish” Klein

Richard “Richie” Klein began organizing softball games with the three other grammar schools in his hometown in third grade in 1958. His organizing efforts continued in1978, after his boss and the senior office-leasing executive from a rival firm engaged in some trash talking. A challenge was made and Richard was put in charge of organizing a softball game. He chose a triangular plot at Edgewater and Lake Shore Drive, created a makeshift field, and marveled when 300 people showed up to watch the game. He spotted a need and the next year started the Downtown Real Estate Softball League (DRESL) with four teams. Little did he know that his efforts would eventually draw thousands of people and their families into the game. The league continued to grow and expanded to diamonds along the lakefront. The first fruits of his labor appeared in the early 1980s, when business competitors who had teams in the league, began to toss around an idea to form an association of office leasing brokers. The Chicago Office Leasing Brokers Association (“COLBA”) was the direct result of DRESL and is still the premier association for office brokers in Chicago. DRESL started with four teams playing on Friday afternoons in Oz Park in 1979 and by 2005 there were sixteen teams playing along the Chicago’s lakefront. DRESL plays every Monday night, from the beginning of May to the second Monday in August. Those sixteen teams represent nearly every major commercial real estate brokerage, management, and development firm in Chicago. Since 2002, companies involved in various businesses relating to office space have been invited to participate in DRESL by sponsoring every Monday night with food, beverage and karaoke for the after party. This has helped forge closer relations with people at all levels in the industry. Young brokers just starting off get to socialize with brokers that have been in the business for thirty years or more. Brokers have negotiated deals, swapped firms and met their future spouses through DRESL For each of the thirty-one years he has been in the league, Richie has sponsored his own team. He played shortstop but switched to pitching after injuries decreased his range. Since the first official year, 1980, his teams have won six championships. He also pitches for Chicago Crush at the UIC on Wednesday nights.  He grew up on Chicago’s North side and remembers his mother listening to Jack Brickhouse describe Ernie Banks’ exploits with the Cubs. Since then he has emulated Ernie’s style. He always wears fourteen as his number and has copied Ernie’s signature batting stance. He played baseball for New Trier High School in the mid-60s. Richard’s two brothers, father and many of his uncles all played competitive 16″ softball on the north side of the City. His older brother Mitchell was legendary for his monster home run stroke.  Baseball and its wonderful cousin, Chicago 16″ softball, has been a constant in Richie’s life for as long as he can remember. It has given him a lifetime of great friends and memories. His love for the game is memorialized in his signature sign off from the newsletter he writes after every Monday night, the DRESL DROPPINGS- GOD BLESS AMERICA AND 16″ SOFTBALL!!! THANKS RICHARD “RICHIE COMMISH” KLEIN