Sal “Buddy” Ganir

Buddy Ganir grew up on the North side of Chicago in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. He is a 1960 graduate of Lake View High School where he was captain of the football team and a three-year starter at fullback. Buddy began his softball career in 1957, playing playground softball against other neighborhood teams. Two years later, he joined one of the greatest North side teams of the era – the Dwarfs. Through the ’60s and most of the ’70s, the Dwarfs kept the same neighborhood nucleus as they moved-up in competition at Clarendon and Kelly Parks against such great teams as the Bobcats and the Sobies. Buddy was known as a hardnosed pitcher with a big personality and distinctive style. From 1968 to 1973, he pitched the Dwarfs to twenty-five park district titles. Bedsides pitching, he also played catcher and third base. As a hitter, he could hit “from line to line.” Over his long career, he drove in over 2500 runs and hit more than 200 homeruns. He carried a lifetime batting average of .500. Buddy was instrumental in keeping the Dwarfs team together. They continued to play at Clarendon Park and Mt.Prospect through the ’80s and into the 2000s. Through his efforts, the Dwarfs were the first team to win the Clarendon Park title in five different decades – from the ’50s into the ’90s. In the late ’90s through 2003 (he retired in 2003), the Dwarfs reached a milestone in softball when many of the sons of the original members began playing next to their dads, extending the legacy of the Dwarfs to six decades. In 1997, Buddy pitched the Dwarfs to championships at Hamlin Park in both the Tuesday and Thursday night leagues. Buddy also played for Peoples Gas from 1968 until his retirement from the company in 1999. During those years, the team won so many yearly league championships that they earned an almost standing invitation every year to the Grant Park Industrial Tournament of Champions. In 1998, Buddy pitched Peoples Gas to the final game of the tournament, beating such great teams as the Sun Times, Northern Trust, and Continental Bank. They beat the team from Conrad Hilton 14-12 in the final game to secure the title. Buddy and his wife, Sandy, have two sons, David and Darren and three grandchildren: Madison, Jacob, and Dominic. He retired from Peoples Gas after thirty-five years of service. Buddy now spends his time playing golf and watching his granddaughter and sons play softball. They live in Rosemont, Illinois.