Team Doctors

Little did Rick Burda and Paul Volk, two friends who met playing in a church league in LaGrange, know that the team they formed in 1973 would still be playing today.  In 1973 they started playing in a league in Brookfield and over the next few years added leagues in Summit and Bedford Park. Made up mostly of local players from the Western Suburbs, the DOCTORS made a decision about 1982 to challenge themselves.  They decided to expand from just local parks, play in more tournaments, and try to qualify for National Tournaments.  To accomplish this they made a few minor adjustments to strengthen themselves by picking up players that had experience, brought in some younger players, and brought back a former player, George Plesha, to manage full time.  Their efforts started to pay off when they finished second in the Lisle Metro to the Lords in 1983, and in 1984 won their first Suburban Life Classic Tournament in Pleasantdale by beating the Longshots.  They almost made it in 1985, but again fell just short, losing to the very talented Taggers in the Woodridge Metro.  Finally their efforts paid off in 1986 when the DOCTORS won their first ASA Metro in Oak Lawn by defeating top teams such as the Peppers, Stickmen, and the Crush and qualified for the National Tournament in Mt. Prospect.  During the year the DOCTORS were 57-10, playing in Lyons, Summit, and Bedford Park. The next year they won the Hodgkins League with a 15-1 record and the Open League and playoffs in LaGrange with a 20-4 record.  Over the ten year period, starting in 1982, the DOCTORS competed to play at the Nationals – finally in 1988 winning the ASA Class “A” Nationals in Indianapolis and winning the 1989 NSA National Tournament in Grayslake. In 1990 they won the Class “A” ASA Metro qualifier in LaGrange and finished third at the ASA Class “A” Nationals in Marshalltown, IA. They then took second place in the 1991 ASA Class “A” Nationals in Blue Island. The DOCTORS also won their second Suburban Life Classic Tournament title in 1989.  Perhaps the DOCTORS most memorable and greatest accomplishment had to come in 1988 when they won the “Triple Crown” of “A” ball – winning the prestigious Hawthorne Park District Tournament in Cicero, the USSSA Class “A” State Tournament in Orland Park, in addition to the previously mentioned ASA Class “A” Nationals in Indianapolis.  This had never been done before nor was it equaled after.  They also finished fourth in the Suburban Life Classic Tournament that year. Since 1992 the DOCTORS have played in the Thirty-nine and Older League in LaGrange (now in Cicero) winning the league championship over 10 times.  Starting in 2000 they have played in the Fifty and Older League in LaGrange (now in Berwyn) and at one point won the League Championship for 10 consecutive years. Known throughout the years for their great defense and timely hitting, the DOCTORS have won over fifty league championships in addition to numerous tournaments.  Over the years, children were born and some had parents pass away, strengthening the bond of friendship and keeping it a “family affair”.  In addition to Rick Burda and Paul Volk, Ed Smith, Don Martina, and Bill Trischank have been together over 30 years.  Like many teams that played together for years, the DOCTORS went through personnel changes but always maintained a nucleus of good players but more importantly players with the same ideals. Winning was important to the DOCTORS, but loyalty to the team was more important in addition to passion for the game, having fun, and camaraderie. They can always be found in the parking lot after the game or back at their sponsor “replaying” the action. Throughout the years, the DOCTORS were sponsored by different businesses and neighborhood bars but their best and longest lasting relationship, over 20 years, has been with T.J’s Pub in Lyons whom we would like to thank for their very generous and never ending support.   We feel that we are a good example of a team that fits the HOF’s definition of a team for recognition: “The sport has always been played by thousands of teams but few have won the major tourneys. The HOF honors teams that have been very successful over a long period of time. Many have repeatedly won the big tourneys, while some have not won any big events but have played for decades and are the fabric of the sport’s heritage” All the players would like to thank the Chicago Sixteen-Inch Softball Hall of Fame for the great honor of being recognized as a TEAM for their dedication to softball. Wayne Annerino Buddy Gasaway Keith Lodding Dave Plesha John Bagal Bill Gibson Bill Lorenz George Plesha Rich Bagal Tom Grove Joe Riggi John “Duke” Gregerson Bill Baronti Ron “B.R. Lundgren Mark Rutkowski Dennis “Ski” Kowski Ed Hefler Brain Basek Mick Malmon Tim Sass Bert Beyer Bill Hickey Don Martina (HOF) Mark Schuller Gary Bouchard Brian Hickey Ralph Mascio Jeff Sebuck Larry Burda John Holt Mike Matucha Ed Smith Rick Burda Bob Jaworski Ross Meyer Ed Stack Randy Caldwell Joe Johnstone Don Mica Wayne Stawczyk Bill Cavanaugh Jim Josepher Bob Stevens Chuck Cerny Greg Klein Kevin Mikolajczyk Pat Strausser George Clam Gary Klonowski Albert Mills Jeff Thomm Ed Clarke Bill Knapp Ernie Millsap Pete Tollios Cary Cochrane Bob Koch R.V. Millsap Ray Topps (HOF) Kevin Cochrane Dave Kopach Joe Moms Tony Tortorello Brian “B.C.” Collins Scott Kopach Ken Monti Bill Trischank John”E.H.” Conrad Paul Volk Rich Urbanski (HOF) Steve Culp Chris Koziel Bruce Nowak Tony Davis Norb Kozlowski Bill O’Leary Jim Vondrasek Vinny Dinello Brian Kulaga Norm Ollestad Mike Walker Tim Dlhy Tim Kutt Rich Palmer Scott Wesolowski Loren Dunkley George LeBeau Ted Payton Jeff Wojciak Bill Dvorak (HOF) Rich Leeper Bob Pechous Ken Wright Ed Eaton Larry Lenz Mike Perry Mark Wyszynski Gary Lewis Bill Pink Paul Zaitz Gary Freund Otto Zeman John”Tugs” Earnest Jim “Rocky” Nelson John “Juice” Majewski Ron “Orca” Micholowicz