Tom Cramsie

A 1939 graduate of De LaSalle High School where he played basketball and football, Tom Cramsie began his softball career at Horace Mann School at 80th and Jeffrey Avenue on Chicago’s Southeast Side. Like many neighborhood teams, they kept the same nucleus as they battled other Southeast and South Side teams. Sponsored by Aidner Paints, Kromelow Insurance, Wee Folks Diapers, and O’Halleran’s. Tom Cramsie played against such legendary teams as Sweet Water Clifton’s Brown Bombers and teams organized by Tilden Teach and Notre Dame graduate Lou Rymkus during the late 1940s. He played in the Windy City League with the Douglas Senators in 1940 and 1941 and in tournaments at Grand Crossing and other parks on the South Side. World War II interrupted Tom Cramsie’s softball career from 1942 to 1946 when he joined the Marines and served in the Pacific on Guam. Upon his discharge, the White Sox signed him to play with their Waterloo, Iowa team during the spring training in 1946. After the White Sox released him shortly after spring training, he went back to work for American Forge and stayed with them for 38 years, retiring in 1978 as vice president of sales. He then worked in the wire business for ten years before retiring completely. As a shortstop, Tom Cramsie had the reputation as one of the surest hands in the game at the time. One of his competitors, George McGuire, swears he never saw Tom make an error or bobble a ball. He was known as an above average hitter who could hit to all fields. Playing against Hall of Fame pitcher, Lewa Yacilla, he remembers when the pitch was not arced as much as it is today. Hesitation was the dominant move by pitchers back then. He retired from softball in the late 50s. Tom and his wife, Lorraine, live in Orland Park. They had six children, eighteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.