Thomas “Tomo” O’Malley

Tom O’Malley is one of those rare players whose talent and longevity helped him reap the rewards of fifty-five years of playing softball. Perhaps his greatest achievement was winning the Kennedy Park championship at 59 in 2000 (his last year of playing) with his two sons, Mike and Tom. Tom grew up playing softball with the older guys (Hall of Famer Jerry Schmidt was one) in the neighborhood of St. Sabina’s Parish in Chicago. It was here that he formed the loyalty to the neighborhood teams that characterized many players of his era. Even though he played with some of the bigger named teams, he still remained loyal to the neighborhood, especially for money games. In fact, for twenty years, Tom O’Malley and Hall of Fame members Jerry Schmidt and Eddie Surma formed one of the best outfield combinations of their day. He started with Father Perez when he was eighteen and stayed with them for fifteen-plus years. He then played for such teams as Morgan Murphy (with Bill Bereckis and John Hornacek), Wilt Climate, the Hustlers, Butch Mc Guire’s, Freddies, the Right Ons, IGAs, Blarney Tap, the Whips, Jones Motors, Casto’s, Barret Boosters, Scotties, and People’s Choice. He played in nearly every league in every park and every tournament in Chicago and suburbs during his playing career. He played on at least one championship team every year, including the Kennedy Park championship mentioned above. One of his highlights was playing in the Daddy- O Dailey League when Sweetwater Clifton was at the end of his career. He was named one of two MVPs (along with Jerry Schmidt) when the 19th Ward All Stars defeated American Rivet and was a member of the All-State Knight of Columbus team in 12” softball. He also pitched IGAs to the Chicago Park District city championship. His commitment to teaching and coaching prevented him from participating in national tournaments. Tom O’Malley was known as a clutch hitter who normally hit second because of his ability to hit behind the runner. As he got older and wiser, he became the master of the “dump” ball behind third or second. Defensively he was known as a solid player whose great arm was a threat to base runners at every base. He and his wife of forty-one years, Carol, have three children, Tom, Mike, and Carrie, and twelve grandchildren. He currently coaches basketball at St. Xavier University. They live on Chicago’s Southwest Side.