Willie “Wicked Willie Pool” Kemp

Willie Kemp aka Wicked Willie Pool, was born in Marigold, Mississippi and raised on Chicago’s South side. He attended both elementary and high school at Francis Parker where he excelled in football, basketball, wrestling, and softball.  After graduation in the early 1960s, he attended Wilson Junior College and Chicago Teacher’s College South (now Chicago State).  Wicked Willie Pool started his softball career while in elementary school with neighborhood teams, beginning with the Uncle Austee Stars during the late-1950s and early-1960s. Wicked Willie Pool was still a member of this team when it became known as the 151 Stars, the 203 Stars of 69th Street, and eventually became the legendary Kuppenheimer Senators in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Wicked Willie Pool was the captain of the Senators from its beginning to its end at the turn of the century. The Senators were the third team to be honored by the Hall of Fame. Wicked Willie Pool played all positions, especially shortstop and first base. He carried a batting average between .800 and .850 and hit so many homeruns that it is difficult to count them. He played next to his brother, Henry “Hammering Hank” Kemp (HOF) for nearly four decades. He also played behind Henry “Hawk” Curry (HOF), who threw to Rick “Rick Monday” Lagone (HOF), while being backed up by Jesse “Mee-Sack” Mack (HOF) and was managed by Floyd Glover (HOF). Wicked Willie Pool also played along side his other brothers, Fred Kemp, Richard Kemp, Roland Kemp, and the late David Kemp.  During his playing days, Wicked Willie Pool was one of the most feared hitters in several leagues. He has played against such Hall of Famers as Tony Reibel, Al Maag, Jake Jacobi, Willie Simpson, Ed Zolna, Mike Tallo, and Ed Surma. He also played against Hall of Fame players Gene Mathis, Sweet Willie Johnson, Bobby Blackstone, Donnie Gardner, Austin “Spider” Ware and a host of other top-flight black ball players.  Wicked Willie Pool played in leagues and parks all over the Chicago land area. He played at Hart Stadium, Avalon Park, Mount Prospect, Washington Park, and Kelly Park. He played in the Windy City League, the Cocktail League, the Daddy O Daylie League, and the 75th and Jeffrey Softball League. Wicked Willie Pool was named MVP of the South side Cocktail League and the Washington Park Softball Tournaments several times. He also was the MVP of the Avalon Park and 75th and Jeffrey Leagues. He won honorable mention in the 1968 nationals. In 1966 at Clarendon Park, The Kuppenheimer-Senators were the first black team to play in the Nationals. They then made the Nationals in 1968 through 1975, and again in 1983, and 1985. He was selected All-State, All-Tournament, and All-American at Washington Park and was selected an All-Tournament player at Blue Island several times. Additionally, he was an All-Star selection at 75th and Jeffrey, at Windy City, at Hart Stadium, and at Kelly Park. He was also named honorable mention at Kelly.  Wicked Willie Pool played softball for five decades from the late-1950s until his retirement in 2006. His team, the Senators, won every championship on the South side of Chicago for ten years in a row.  He possessed extraordinary softball skills and always displayed an unwavering high caliber of play. Whenever the game was on the line, Wicked Willie Pool was always unshakeable. Wicked Willie Pool and his wife of thirty-five years, Lucinda, have five children – Kirstie, Karlos, Olivia, Esaw, and Eric. Another son, Kevis, is deceased. They live in Calumet Park, Illinois.