Born in 1921, Santo “Sam” Bruno made his softball debut with the Mel-Oaks, a team from Melrose St. and Oakley Ave. On Sundays, the best players in the Bell School League would play marathon games for ten cents a man, with the bets doubling with each win. Some Sundays, Bruno and his teammates were joined by the Werderich brothers and played against Red Herder and Lewa Yacilla, who were paid $3 to $5 dollars a game. The victorious team took home $1.60 in winnings. Not bad money in those Depression era days of the late 30s. Besides Mel-Oaks, Sam Bruno also played with Riverview Park Boosters, North Center Bowling, Jake Recreation and Teletype Corporation. He also played with the legendary Lill Coals in 1943, where he hooked up with the Werderic brothers and fellow 2000 Hall of Fame inductee Dick Triptow. Sam Bruno also organized a team from Teletype that won three straight YMCA Industrial League Championships. At the close of the 1943 season, Sam Bruno joined the Navy and was sent to the Pacific Theater aboard the USS LST 710, that hit the beach at Luzon in the Philippines, where it was severely damaged by Japanese fire. The ship was dry docked, and the war ended while Sam was on leave. When he returned to duty, his was the first ship to anchor at the Japanese naval base at Ominato Bay in Amori, Japan. A graduate of North Park College, Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, Sam Bruno was an executive with Blue Cross and Blue Shield for 34 years. He has also served in various governmental positions for the Village of Niles. Sam and his wife, Frances have four children. In 2000 they were living in Niles, Illinois.