In 1972, a group of guys that played sports in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood decided to form a softball team they called The Band. They proceeded to win the Normandy Park League that year against some American Legion teams & other local teams.
The team name changed to Mercury and over the next few years became a very successful team in the Summit Park, Normandy Park & Wentworth Park softball leagues. Key players were added from other local teams: Shooting Stars, Wreckers & Christians.
In 1977 the team was sponsored by Touch of Class Lounge in Chicago & became the Touch. They played through the late 70’s and early 80’s, becoming a standout ASA non-major class B team, despite the fact that, like many other teams at the time, some of the players were labeled as Major players so the entire team could not play at all venues. By 1983, the team decided to just play Major class softball. Some of the Bobcats came to the team now managed by Dave Nelligan and Ed Zolna. In 1984, Dave (also a team pitcher) was joined by coaches Vince Murphy & Tom Griffin, keeping the team intact for a successful year as they became one of the top Major teams.
It was in 1985, with the help of a sponsorship by Hometown Beer Distributing, that the Touch put it all together winning the Kelly Park A League, Normandy Park League, Chicago Park District Championship Tournament, the Metro, ASA Major Nationals & Mather Park Tournament. A year to remember.
Dave Nelligan continued to coach the team through 1987, as the team won various tournaments and leagues. After the 1987 ASA Nationals, Dave decided to step down along with some of the key players. From 1988 through 1990, Bob O’Malley took the reins, with the team reaching the final four or six in the ASA Nationals all three years. When Bob stepped down in 1991, Rich Melman got involved in softball with the help of Wally Pecs, Ray Topps & a solid core of eight of the Touch players. The team name was changed to Lettuce.
Many players played with the Touch team & contributed greatly over the years, but a few are worth mentioning for their perseverance through good & bad times including: Bill Neligan, Bill Volkman, Tom Balek, Bill O’Connor, Vince Murphy, Tom Griffin, Ray Topps, Mike Caputo, Mike Anast, Tom Jurevis, Joe Banach, Bill Quinn, Larry Rosul, Brian Panach, Dick Baetzel, Art Strauss, Rod Molek, Tim Flannagan, Steve Slammar & Rich Mahoney.