Robert Pagorek

Bob Pagorek’s softball career began in 1953 when he was a seventh grader and lasted until 1995. During that time he played the game and managed some of the great teams of the ‘70s and ‘80s. He played in many Chicago Park District leagues, primarily on the Southeast Side, at Calumet City and Dolton and in Whiting, Indiana. He attended St Frances de Sales High School where he played varsity basketball for four years. He got his first taste of organizing in 1958 when he organized a team, bought the shirts and solicited a sponsor for an 18 – and under league at Calumet Park. From 1961 to 1978 he played five nights a week (sometimes playing two games at different parks the same night) and on weekends in senior park leagues, CYO ball and tournaments with such teams as Maggie’s, Honey’s Inn, Van Club, Jack’s Club, Ed’s Sports Club, Continental Bank, ERV and Jenny’s. He played first base for thirty-one years before alternating between first base, pitcher or extra hitter during the last ten years of his career. During those days the season ended on Labor Day at Trumbull Park with thirty-two teams in a single elimination tournament. The entry fee was thirty dollars and the prize was a team trophy and an individual trophy for each player (besides the money bet on the side during each game) and no one left until the champions were crowned. Around 1975 the Eastside team was formed and the team expanded outside its neighborhood to play in tougher competition. Their effort paid off when they won the 1976 Windy City “AA” Tournament. The victory came at a cost, though, because they lost some key players to the “big teams” because of the exposure they received. This setback didn’t stop them, however, because they called upon the young local talent of the Southeast Side and some veteran players to form the Eastsiders. They took the league crown for three years at Bessemer, Calumet and Dolton parks. They then moved on to competing in leagues at Harvey, Blue Island and Kelly parks, along with playing in tournaments all over Chicago and suburbs. In 1982 after losing some players, the Eastsiders and the Condors combined ranks to form the ERV Condors, playing at Harvey, Blue Island and Kelly parks. That year they won the July 4th Holiday Tournament in Calumet City, the thirty-two team Lacrosse Tournament and the ASA Chicago-area Championship in Blue Island. In 1983 he was back with the Eastsiders, playing less and coaching more. From 1976 to 1995 they had some great sponsors – ERV, the 10th ward, Pete’s Hideaway, Lakeside Inn and O’Hara’s. Since his retirement from active softball in 1996, Bob Pagorek likes watching local softball teams play or watching his grandchildren play their sports. He is involved with the Knights of Columbus and has served as Grand Knight for two years. One of his most rewarding moments was volunteering to help with the Special Olympics. He is a retired mechanical supervisor for the Rock Island Railroad (twenty years) and Metra (twenty-one years). He and his wife, Mary Ann, have two children, Bob and Cheryl, and four grandchildren.