Willie Abbatacola grew up on the West side of Chicago. He attended St. Mel High School where he played basketball and was the quarterback of the football team. Willie and Hall of Fame manager Moose Camillo knew each other from Spencer Elementary School so Willie began his forty-four year playing career when he signed up to play for Moose when he was sixteen or seventeen.
Willie’s softball career was interrupted by a stint in the Army where he played baseball in France. He was scouted by the Chicago White Sox but chose to play with softball instead.
He played for Malizzi’s and won titles at Garfield, Portage, and Kelly Parks. He played with Phil’s Lounge and helped them win the league title a few times at Kelly Park, beating the Bobcats and the Whips. He played for Active Screw at Clarendon Park and helped them win the league title two years in a row. He played with the Jokers and played with Moose Camillo in the legendary “big money game” at Melrose Park where Camillo’s Cherry Lounge beat the Bobcats.
Near the end of his career, Willie played in various “B” leagues on the Northwest side of Chicago. He retired from softball in 1992.
Willie was a sign hanger for the State of Illinois. He passed away in 2007. He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and four children – Billy, Tom, Jamie, and Mary Eileen. They have ten grandchildren and four great – grandchildren.