Team Smoke

1985. After playing softball for more than twenty years for various teams in countless parks around Chicago and the suburbs, Gary S. Goldberg and Chuck Martinkus felt it was time to form their own team and bring their combined experience to a product they and everyone involved would be proud of. They acted on two principles: that solid, dedicated individuals would produce a better team than flash-in-the-pan superstars, and that long-tern team building was more important than short-tern success. Throughout the early spring of 1985, Goldberg and Martinkus contacted players they knew would fit in, ran ads in local papers, and relied on word of mouth to assemble a team for the upcoming season. Smoke played in a summer league at Shabonna Park twice a week. Because of the typical growing pains that new teams experience, they had mixed results, going .500 their first season. In 1986 they added a few missing parts and produced a playoff team that was still far from perfect, but most of the players were in it for the long haul, so they weren’t discouraged. They played in the 1986 Fall League at Terminal Park in Skokie and found some unexpected results. Their two years at Shabonna and their patience and hard work led to them winning the league title that fall. They went on to win nine Fall League championships in eleven years. They played in the Summer League at Terminal with mixed results. They had a couple of runner-up finishes and won the league title in 1996. In 1997 most of the team broke up. Guys got married, moved out of the area, or moved to other teams. But Goldberg and Martinkus decided to give it one more try. They reconnected with original team members and added new talent to complete the roster. They entered the 1998 season in a “B” league at Dee Park and proceeded to win the summer and fall titles. From 2000 to 2007 they played at Behrens Park in Elmhurst and Lions Park in Villa Park. They were a perennial playoff team and took second a few times in the league championship. They won the championship at Lions Park in 2003 and at Behrens Park in 2006 and 2007. They played in many tournaments around the city and suburbs, including a “geriatric” tournament on the Southeast side of Chicago and in tournaments at Warren Park, Thillens Stadium, and in the first Terry Moran Tournament. From 2004 – 2007, they played in the Villa Park Summer League that was televised by Comcast with Duane Dow as commentator. They were undefeated on the telecasts for four years. They still play indoor winter softball at the Ditka Dome. In 2008 Smoke cofounder Gary Goldberg pitched a perfect game in the Schaumburg Indoor Winter league, a rarity in sixteeninch softball. Smoke recently received a congratulatory letter from Kirk Dillard, Illinois State Senator and avid softball player, upon their being honored by the Sixteen-inch Softball Hall of Fame. Smoke Players Gary S. Goldberg Charles Martinkus Art Kamps John Bias Larry Cagle Don Carson Steve Columbus Larry Comstock Jed Curtis Frank Dale Charles Dial Steve Gerber James Glorioso Rade Inovic Bronko Jantz Art Levy Robert McDonald Tony Monaco Chris Nelson Billy Pica Marty Pick Norm Rose Stu Rosen Mike Rossi Jim Schmitt Robert Seidenberg Paul Smith Jeff Spiegel Jerry Thompson Jim Thompson Mark Tomei Marshall Waldo Charles Weidenbach Brian Anderson Greg Boehm Brad Buckholtz Ken Hollingsworth John Hughes Fred Michon Tom O’Malley Adrian Romero Mike Smith Rich Strachura Steve Weissmann Tony Cursio Phil Grandinetti Jayson Judge Kevin Klaibor Lou Rossi William See perennial playoff team and took second a few times in the league championship. They won the championship at Lions Park in 2003 and at Behrens Park in 2006 and 2007. They played in many tournaments around the city and suburbs, including a “geriatric” tournament on the Southeast side of Chicago and in tournaments at Warren Park, Thillens Stadium, and in the first Terry Moran Tournament. From 2004 – 2007, they played in the Villa Park Summer League that was televised by Comcast with Duane Dow as commentator. They were undefeated on the telecasts for four years. They still play indoor winter softball at the Ditka Dome. In 2008 Smoke cofounder Gary Goldberg pitched a perfect game in the Schaumburg Indoor Winter league, a rarity in sixteeninch softball. Smoke recently received a congratulatory letter from Kirk Dillard, Illinois State Senator and avid softball player, upon their being honored by the Sixteen-inch Softball Hall of Fame.

Join us October 29, 2022

26th Annual Hall of Fame Inductee Dinner, at the Drury Lane Oakbrook

 

Full details in the shop link below