Team RIC Cubs

     In 1981, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) established the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Sports Program, a community-based adaptive sports program for youth and adults with physical disabilities. Thirty years later, it has become one of the longest running adaptive sports programs in the country offering a wide range of competitive and recreational sports opportunities for people of all ages and ability levels including, wheelchair rugby, basketball road racing and softball, sled hockey, golf, skiing, archery, power soccer, bocce, cycling, and military programming for injured service men and women. The Wirtz Sports Program along with partner program the Helen M. Galvin Health and Fitness Center, experience more than 40,000 program visits annually. With wheelchair softball quickly growing in popularity among athletes, the sport was one of the earliest offered within the RIC Wirtz Sports Program. Playing in parking lots across the region, the newly developed RIC wheelchair softball team found little success playing against the more established teams in the region. But the spirit of the game did not abate. And the in following years, the athletes honed their skills and drew Chicago’s most talented players. In 1993, the RIC Rollers became the RIC Cubs when Cubs Care, the charitable arm of the Chicago Cubs baseball organization and part of the McCormick Tribune Foundation, came on board as the first National League organization to sponsor a wheelchair softball team. The team’s performance became worthy of National League status when in 2002 the RIC Cubs won their first National Wheelchair Softball Association title and repeated as champs in 2005. The RIC Cubs have had great success in national tournaments: taking third and fourth place twice, and second place four times. In 2000, Major League Baseball (MLB) established the Major League Baseball Tournament in New York City. The annual tournament is popularly referred to as the “World Series” of wheelchair softball and offers the top MLB-affiliated wheelchair softball teams a chance to compete each September in this exclusive 16-INCH tournament sponsored by the New York Mets. The RIC Cubs have proudly won the title eight of the past ten years. And, with nearly thirty years of experience, the RIC Cubs wheelchair softball team continues a tradition of excellence and camaraderie on the field bringing home the MLB “World Series” title again in 2011.
RIC Cubs Players
Larry Labiak – Catcher Kurt Smith – Right Center Field Paul Moran – Left Fielder Jorge Alfaro – Short Stop Dave Lewis – First Base Alex Parra – Pitcher Dino Ramirez – Right Field Juan Ortiz – Second Base Angelo Cruz – Third Base Curtis Lease – Right Center Field Maurice Reynolds – Rover Dan Palmer – Designated Hitter Ramon Canellada – Infielder Hector Bruno – Infielder Trent Thenhaus – Team Manager Brian O’Dell – Coach Corey Hug – Coach Kelley Hayn –Equipment Manager