Gillette Strokers /Old Strokes/Leftovers

The Gillette sixteen-inch softball team played in the Grant Park Softball League in the 1950s through the 1960s.  They became the Gillette Strokers in the early 1970s. Rumor has it that they won a few Grant Park championships in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but through the ‘70s and into the ‘90s they were a competitive team without a league title (although they did have quite a few second and third place finishes). This drought ended in 2005 when they won the Grant Park Plaza League championship and repeated as league champs in 2008.

In 1991, the Gillette Strokers and some “older” players from the other Grant Park teams – Com Ed, Peoples Gas, and Sears became the Old Strokes. They played in a 39–and –Older-League in La Grange. After their first season playing at La Grange where they won the league championship, the Old Strokes faced a problem – they had too many players. So they split into two teams – the Old Strokes and the Leftovers. As of 2016, both teams still compete in the 39–and-Over–League at Janura Park in Berwyn.  In 1998 the La Grange Park District started at 50–and–Over–League that the Old Strokes and Leftovers competed in. The Old Strokes are still playing in a 50-and-over–league in Berwyn.

The Strokers still play in the Thursday night Plaza League at Grant Park. They played in other leagues and tournaments (they won the LaGrange Fall League in 1997), but have primarily played at Grant Park.

Most softball players played the game for two reasons – the competition on the field and the chance to socialize afterwards where lifelong friendships are formed. For that, the Strokers, Old Strokes, and Leftovers thank O’Callahans, Rossi’s, Pippen’s, Streator’s, Hogan’s, Queen’s Paradise, Melody Lane, Kenny’s Pub, Joes Saloon, Harrys Bar, Ryan’s Pub, Waterworks, Cordial Inn and many other “watering holes”. In the early 70s, the Strokers, after one of their Grant Park games, began what would become an annual after game picnic. Stroker Fest started out as a celebration for Stroker softball but evolved into a multi-team celebration every summer with the menu featuring a roasted pig stuffed with chickens to hot dogs and, of course, lots of cold beer.


Through the years, the Stroker softball roster included players from different backgrounds, neighborhoods, races, and ethnicities. Their roster changed slowly but eventually younger players were added to remain competitive with the core of players who had been together for ten-to-twenty years. Many of their more “experienced” players joined the Old Strokes or the Leftovers.


But with all the roster changes, one fact remained unchanged – it wasn’t dominance on the field but camaraderie and team loyalty that led to the longevity of the Strokers, Old Strokes, and Leftovers.  The Strokers are already planning on playing into the next decade. They hope to add their sons and grandsons to the roster. The Old Strokes and Leftovers hope to avoid injury so they can play No Gloves Sixteen-inch softball for many more years.


Columbus James                     Jimmy Powell             Dick Mrugacz
Jim Voss                                Woody Chartrand                      Don Meyers
Willie Pepper                           Dave Ponash                          Darryl Watkins
Juan Cantu                               Bobby Koutek                        Bobby Meyers
Russ Krezel                              Ronnie Harper                        Frank Atkinson
Ernie Wiggins                         Bobby Wiggins                         Dave Smidt
Jim Quinn                               Roy Rodriguez                        Charlie Powell
Jocko Tatum                            Willie Tatum                             Tom Donahue
Rob Callahan                           Dan Radachonski                      Don Schmidt
Bill Zumbek                            George Strob                          Russ Blumhagen
Freddy Riebel                          Tim James                               Rich Daniels
Lonnie Bingham                      Tom Castellarin                        Darryl Bettenfield
Kenny Philpot                         Roy Harrison                           Jim Young
Vinnie Dicosola                      Curtis Cotton                           Bill Cavanaugh
Robert Taylor                          John Robb                               Maurice “Mo” Davis
Wayne Edwards                        Anthony Edwards                 Derek Edwards
Jim Stein                                 Joe Johnson                           Dave Lemmons
Jeff Lemmons                         John Strickland                      Noel Outlaw
Clu.                             ..          Tiny                                         Ice Mike

Sleepy                                     Wizard                                     Tall Bill
Joe Voss                                 Tim Voss                                James Simms
Les Simms                              Paul Wukasch                         Trevor Wukasch
Carol Harris                            Tina Howell                           Jean Jeras
Griff McIntyre                        Warren Watson                       Kenny Zuncick
Mike O’Mally                             Steve Tullis                          Sander Kaplan
Dan Bagley                             Loyd Boyd                             Willie Smith
Walter Smith                           Warren Watson                       Warren Mitchell
Larry Grabowski                       Mike Mattuck                        John Wozny
Matt Bhuemer                          Emmett Quinn                        Ron Rak
Bernie Korznewski                 Bernie Rajkowski                     Bernie Stefanski
John Dillon                              Rich Fischer                           Lee Frye
John Sears                                Ed Porter                                Tony Guerra
Ernie Williams                         Jessie Rosas                            Ralph Mitchum
Kenny Fukar                           Turk Hunter                             Peter Troy
Larry Sullivan                         Gary Gottschalk                     Kevin Young
Tom Kelly                                 Wayne Hatch                         Jerry Tazic
Jim O’Rielly                            John Caddick                          Bill Lynch
Bill Redis                    Chet Matykiewicz                   Wayne Hatch
Wayne Borawski                      Odell Humpries                      Tony Kaldis
Greg Cantrambone                   Ron Nowitski                         Joe Dlask
Joe Langraf                             Drew Stienbach                        John Blazina
Bill Sherman                            Andy Griffin                          John Walsh
Tom Walsh                              Jim Schulte                              Ed Duerk
Frank Straka                            Ed Mantel                                Rob Robinson
Monroe Bell                            Fred Kalita                             Jim Coyle
Dennis Veraveic                      Mickey Quirk                          Tony Pearson
Jake Hampton                         Mark Johnson                         Bill Pyziak
Bob Pyzik                               Vada Primus                           Bob Dicarlo
Denny Conway                       Jim Glanz                                Ed Faranauskus
Art Kamps                               Jimmy Kieth                            Scott Riemer
Mike Galivan                            T J Hull                                 Bob Merz
Tom Chebular                         Chris Pacourek                       Ladd Dallum
Tim Ozga                     Tom Nyhan                            Scott Hulten
John Dudzic                            Fred Michon                          Jim Handly
Tom Frank                               Joe Mullen                              Jerry Morrisette
Justin Krone                            Kevin Young                          Ray Prokaski
Benny Villareal                       Tom Nacht                               Guy Manella
Joe Gibson                              Carl                                         Jacob
Rondo Catelli                          Robert Hathaway                     Herman Carter
Phil Zimmerman                       Marco Bolotin                         Rich Wronski

Mike Sacharski                       Rick Fox                                 Mr Wonderful