Vito Maggerise

Vito Maggerise once almost threw his arm out while trying to throw a ball onto the roof of Ryerson School on Chicago’s Westside, just a few blocks from Kells Park where he started playing softball with the Rogues when he was twenty years old. It’s fortunate that his arm recovered because Vito went on to become one of the top first basemen of the 1964-1979 era. He played with the Rogues at major parks throughout Chicago for years, winning championships throughout the city and at Clarendon and Ridgewood. While playing with the Rogues in the championship game against the Bobcats in Evanston, his daughter, Jeana, yelled out that they needed a triple play to end the game. Right on cue, the next batter hit into a triple play, (line drive to second to short-center to first) with Vito doing his famous splits at first base to record the third out. During the mid-60s, he played with both the Rogues and the Stompers before making his move to major softball when he joined the Strikers in the 1970s. In 1974 the Strikers beat Danan’s Pub 4-3 to clinch the ASA title at Dalton, Georgia. During a semi-final game against Saxon’s Lounge, Vito hit a leadoff single and helped start a rally to eventually beat Saxon’s. After leaving the Strikers, he played with the Impalas at Norridge Park, wearing the number that reflected his age – forty-seven. Vito played first base throughout his career and was known as a top leadoff hitter, who could always be counted on to start a key rally. He was named MVP at Park Ridge in 1976. That year he was voted tournament MVP at Norridge when he carried a .533 average to beat the highly touted Hornets, as recorded by an article in the Suburban Sports edition of the Chicago Tribune. During Vito’s forty-five year softball career, teams he played on won more than thirty championships, including multiple titles at Amundsen and Kosciusko Parks, the Andy Frain title in 1966, and the ASA title in 1974. Vito retired from softball in 1983 and took up golf, opening up a whole new world of friends and competition. Besides playing softball, Vito also boxed when he was young and once won the Golden Dome title at Garfield Park. He was a crane operator and a member of Local 705. He and his wife, Barbara, have two children, Jeana and Frank and four grandchildren, Dominick, Alexa, Sasha, and Evan. His grandchildren continue Vito’s love of sports by being active in baseball, soccer, and cheerleading. Unfortunately, Vito passed away in May of 2008.