Hodgkins Park District
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.”
Kenneth “Chicken” Hairston
While the members of the Hangovers didn’t grow-up exclusively playing 16 – inch softball (they played t-ball for two years starting when they were six), they did play it for twenty- six plus years. They started at Lawler Park in the 70’s in the Pigtail, Ponytail and then Junior Miss leagues. From there they went on to coach in the Ponytail and Junior Miss leagues. That is when Melissa Wojciechowski and Colleen Elliott decided to start their own women’s 16-inch softball team.
Wojciechowski and Elliott found some players from the neighborhood and also recruited some of the moms from the teams that they were coaching. They played on Monday nights at Lawler Park and won that league the first four years they played.
They then decided to venture out and started playing in more competitive leagues at McKinley Park and in Bridgeview. They played three nights a week and found success. They took first place at Bridgeview and second place at McKinley. Unfortunately, the leagues folded, so they had to move to other parks. They played at Normandy Park (‘97-‘04), Commissioners Park (‘05-‘06), New Castle Park in Burbank (‘07-‘09), Durkin Park (‘10-‘11), Rainey Park (‘12-‘14) and Martin Park in Hickory Hills, where they still play today. Over these many years of playing, they won numerous leagues and championships.
Throughout these years, they played in as many tournaments as they could. They played in the Grant Park tournament, USSSA tournaments, the Best of Western, the Bucks for Burn, the Y-Me Breast Cancer, the St Jude Tournament, and the A & E tournament. They finished in the top five in each of these tournaments. They won Y-Me tournament eight times, the Bucks for Burn seven times, and the Best of Western six times. By playing against such great competitors in these tournaments, the Hangovers improved their play for league competition.
Over these past twenty-six years, the women that played on the Hangovers have proven themselves to be some of the most amazing women that anyone could ever know. Time will only tell how long they will continue to play, but they do know that the friendships they have formed will last a lifetime. Each of these women that have played in the past, and that are still playing today are amazing athletes who love this crazy game of 16-inch softball!.
A special thanks to each of these ladies:Linda Annolino, Pam Abney, Christine Baldwin, Tricia Benedetto, Lupe Buttliere, Gina Corso, Maria (Billie) Campos, Colleen Cassiani, Kelly Cusick, Susie Cusick, Mary Deppert, Erin Dzieka, Colleen Elliott, * Rosie Geraci, Becky Honan, Jamie Honan, Vicki Hart, Lisa Hovel, * Betty Kollar, Becky Koenig, Beth Ann (Boo) Kaczorowski, Donna LoDuca
Diane (Dee Dee), LaPorte. Lisa Lorenz, Amy Marek, Christine Miernicki, Sarah McCarthy, Terry O’Boyle, Pattie Prokaski, Nikki Pietras, Mary Radek, Mary Reagan, * Elvira (Babe) Sanfilippo, , Melissa Sizemore, Wendy Skrocki, Dawn Sadorf, Paige Stryczdk, Wendy Taylor, Jennifer Tuider, Melissa Wojciechowski, Lillian Warrington, Teresa White
* Indicates women that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.