John “Duke” Gregerson
Gary S. Goldberg
- 1993 USSSA (Country Club Hills) Best Defensive Player / All Tournament
- 1994 Quest for the Best / Best Defensive Player / All Tournament
- 1994 USSSA (Country Club Hills) / All Tournament
- 1995 Quest for the Best / Best Defensive Player / All Tournament
- 1996 ASA Class A Tournament of Champions MVP / All Tournament
- 1996 Quest for the Best /All Tournament
- 2000 Best of Western MVP (Scott Hurley Memorial Award)
- 2003 World Series (Country Club Hills) MVP
- 2006 Best of Western MVP (Scott Hurley Memorial Award)
- 2014 Best of Western MVP (Scott Hurley Memorial Award)
- 2016 Best of Western MVP (Scott Hurley Memorial Award)
Gildo "Gil" Coldebella started playing softball at Riis Park when he was a teenager. He played third base for the Lobos when they won the state title in 1955. He played with the Rogues at Clarendon and Kelly Parks and with the Big Banjo Bruins and the Lobos at Kosciusko Park. He primarily played third base but also pitched. In 1975, he was named an All American third baseman at the nationals.Gildo and his wife, Edith, live in Huntley, Illinois. They have three children – Mark, Diane, and Steven.
Sal “Buddy” Ganir
Lee “Donnie” Gardner
Bobby “The Grip” Garippo
Carey B. Goins
Carey Goins was born on the South Side of Chicago. Like so many young people before him, he started playing 16-inch softball in the vacant lots, alleys, and schoolyards of his neighborhood. He graduated from Calumet High School in 1971 (where he was a drummer in the band and played football) and then attended Eastern Illinois University. While at Eastern he learned that “softball” meant playing 12-inch, so he started a 16-inch tournament with his fraternity brothers.
He returned to Chicago in 1977 after graduation and created Deathwish with his frat brothers, family, and friends; he played catcher. They played at Avalon Park where they did not win a game but always played hard. The next year they competed in the Washington Park Sunday’s Best Softball League. They added veteran coach Ted Gothard and never finished below fourth place for the next four years. In 1985 they won the league championship. In 1985 they also entered the Saturday Budweiser League, won the regular season title and took second in the “AA” division playoffs. In 1985 Cary took his young team to the Blue Island “A” League where they finished third and realized that they could compete in competitive tournament softball. With this attitude, they entered the Blue Island Major League in 1988.
The team got better and the young players progressed. In 1993 they took third in the USSSA “A” State Tournament out of eighty-four teams, sixth in the USSSA “A” Nationals, and eighth in the ASA “A” Nationals. The team disbanded in 1993 as they were reaching their full potential after the death of Caery’s mother and the death of his wife a year later.
After three years out of softball, his friends convinced him to put a team back together, so Double Diamonds was formed in 1996, becoming Deathwish 2 in 1999. They combined with Rolling Dice in 2006. They won several Blue Island “A” league championships and played in two ASA Major Nationals and many “A” nationals over the years.
Carey retired after the 2006 season, but in 2010 Clifford “Pete Nice” Brown convinced him to manage the 10 Deep softball team. In 2012 he became the manager of the Dog Pound softball team.
Arthur “Lefty” Goldfeder
Jack “Goldie” Goldstein
Dr. Hank Golembesky
Hank began his 16-inch Chicago-style softball career in 1977 in California when he and three colleagues (Rich Collins, Oren Cobb and Bob Gouveia) founded the OB Phils Softball Club and joined the Men’s A Division Ocean Beach Chicago Style Softball League.
Hank was the primary starting pitcher for the team for over thirty –five years. For the past five-plus years, he has been the team’s #2 starter. He continues to play every week and has been managing and running the team since 1978. He has managed the teams as well as sponsored the teams for over forty years.
Over the years players and teams left the league to play 12 - inch slo-pitch softball (men’s and co-ed). In an effort to keep the only 16 - league in the city of San Diego alive, Hank recruited new players (including teens 15 and over) and formed two additional OB Phils teams in 1996. The organization had the three teams play for five years. As the league stabilized, he combined the teams back into two teams. Over the forty years (eighty seasons) the team captured thirty-five league championships and generally finished second or third spots in other years.
The team began traveling to play in tournaments in the year 2000, making its debut in the “A” Division Nationals in Chandler, AZ. Since then the team has played yearly at the Donnelley 16-inch Memorial Weekend Tournament in Yuma, the Cedillo 16-inch Tournament in Yuma in March, and for the past two years at the “Las Vegas 16” October Get Away” tournament in Las Vegas. They have also played in the Maag Charity Tournament in Tempe, AZ in March 2017.
The team has also helped start a “Black Friday 16” Turkey Day” tournament in Chula Vista, CA. This past year the tournament drew 14 teams from Southern California and Arizona.
The OB Phils are proud to have players from varied socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Sixteen-inch softball and team play has created a family atmosphere over the years. Now the organization has seven father and son playing combos and one father-son-grandfather combo. The spouses, significant others and younger children attend the games regularly and travel with the team to its tournaments. The highlight of the year occurs at the Yuma Memorial Tournament at the family Sunday BBQ and pool party.
In 2011, team members created the “OB Phils Hall of Fame” in 2011. Hank was the first inductee and was recognized for his many years as a top player, manager and team/organization sponsor. Each year two new members are inducted at the Annual BBQ in Yuma.
The team truly is “Not Just a Softball Club; We’re Family.”
Robert “Butch” Gordon
Curtis Granderson, Sr.
- Metro Tournaments, 1960-70, teams played to advance to the National ASA tournament, very often held in Chicago.
- Chicago Classic, sponsored by the Beverage Companies like Old Style and Miller Lite, teams came from all over to play on the lake front. There’s nothing better than just needing a bat, ball, tape for your fingers and beer!
- World’s Largest No Gloves Tournament 1992 attracted over 200 teams playing for the trophy and prizes that included an all-expense trip to Cancun, Mexico!
- The City Wide Industrial Tournament, this was an intense competition that matched teams from all around the city of Chicago.
- LaSalle Street Tournament hosted local teams where “ringer teams” often entered to snatch up the prize money.
- Mike Royko Memorial tournament honoring Chicago's most respected newspaper columnist and softball aficionado, held each September, offered softball players one last summer swing.
- Chicago Sixteen – inch Softball Hall of Fame Tournament consisted of men, women, co rec and men over forty divisions. This coveted tournament held 2004-2007 brought out the best of the players.
- City Wide Youth Championships, culminated the season for thousands of kids from across the city parks. These kids continued to keep the game alive!
- Special Olympics Softball, Chicago Park District Special Recreation athletes perform skills tests and competition. The Special Olympics/Special Children’s Charities celebrated their 45th anniversary in July of 2013. In 2014, 481 athletes participated in softball activity in Grant Park.
- The Chicago Police League played in Grant Park 1950 – 2013. This brought police officers from all over the city to compete and build camaraderie amongst various division of the police force. The league continues to play within the Chicago Park District.
- The Illinois Bell/Metro Softball League ran in Grant Park from 1960-2005. The last league director, Jeff Wilkens (1990-2005) notes that back in 1974 every diamond in the pit, up top and over by Petrillo were full every day with teams. They had fond memories of practicing by the original band shell with many other teams waiting for the late game. They always had a contest about who could hit the Columbus statue. Wild Bunch won the league championship in 1991,1992, and 1995. When the league disbanded in 2005, the team joined the park district men’s league on Thursday nights and continues to play.
- The Chicago Design League continues the tradition 1999-2014. Nic Rotundo, league director, said that Grant Park gave the Chicago Design League its softball home… and in the grandest of Chicago sixteen – inch tradition on Upper and Lower Hutchinson fields. What makes their league unique is that they started out as a loosely organized squatter’s league in Lincoln Park’s South Field where they survived for twelve years but the late 90’s brought about the need to either formalize, or disband. It was at that point they started play in Grant Park. Over the past fifteen years, thirty-seven teams have competed for 15 Crowns determined at their annual Championship Tournament, the culmination of their season and a tradition known throughout Chicago’s design and construction communities. So the ride so far has been tremendous with no end in sight as far as they are concerned… the sixteen – inch tradition is alive and continuing to thrive in Grant Park.
In his early twenties, Glen Groebili started the SundownersI a team named for the company Glenn worked for. They played two years (1963 64) in the Riis Park Industrial League. In 1965, they moved from the Industrial League to the Melrose Park Men’s League; they played there until 1973 and dominated the Monday and Wednesdays leagues.
He moved to Downers Grove and took the Sundowners to play in the Downers Grove Men’s League (1974-76). They finished in first place all three years.
Glenn moved to Green Bay, WI in 1977 and returned to Palatine, IL in 1981. In 1982 he was co-founder and president of the newly formed Northwest Men’s Catholic 16-inch League. The league began with six Catholic churches and grew to twelve. Glenn served as president, manager, and player from 1982 to 1992. His team (St Theresa) finished in first in most of the years and took the playoffs in most years. The league is still viable with ten teams. Additionally, he served as president of the Palatine Men’s Softball League from 1992 to 1996.
In 1999 he became president of the Chicago Geezer’s. The Chicago Geezer’s had teams in the fifty, fifty-five, sixty, and sixty-five age groups. These teams competed in Senior Men’s Tournaments from coast to coast and from Florida to Canada. They were committed to playing in ten to -twelve tournaments each year. They won the 60AA World Championship in 2000. Glenn was president, manager, and player until 2012.
He moved to Sun City Huntley in 2002 and began to play both 16-inch softball in Sun City and 12-inch for the Chicago Geezers. He became president of Sun City Softball Club in 2006 and served until 2008. He made numerous changes to conform to the Chicago style softball. He built a 10 x 16 storage facility and expanded the league from ten team to twelve teams and changed the morning pick up into a six-team league.
Glenn continued to play both 16-inch and 12-inch softball in Sun City and began serving a second term as president in 2013untill 2018. While president, Sun City added a 12-inch league and added a 16-inch double - loss elimination tournament at the end of the year. They currently have twenty-three sponsors, covering the twenty-three teams that play in Sun City. They also changed the method of recognizing the league champions from an awarding a team picture to awarding each player a team jersey. They also began a skills competition prior to the All-Star game. In 2017 they added an “Honor the Veterans” softball game. Fifty veterans that play softball in Sun City participated. Players received a hat and shirt for their branch of service. Each player was introduced. This event will now become an annual event.
In 2011, Glenn formed and managed 16-inch softball team for seventy-year-old players to compete in a six-county Senior Olympics, which is held In Elk Grove each year. Their team, the Sun City Clippers, has won the gold medal four out of six times.
Sun City Huntley now ranks with one of the best 16 - inch softball programs in the Chicagoland area. They currently have 240 players and twenty-three teams playing on one of the finest softball fields in the area. The players range in age from fifty-five to the eighties, proving that you are never too old to play softball. Fan support is amazing as the stands are filled for almost every game. It is Chicago 16- inch softball at its best.