The Chicago 16″ Softball Hall of Fame announced its eleventh annual list of inductees and honorees today. The list includes some of the best male and female athletes in the sport since the 1920s when the sport began to take-off in Chicago. “The voting gets tougher and tougher each year because the competition is so equal, but these stars of Chicago are another superb class to honor,” stated Gary Thorsen, president of the Hall of Fame.
Co-founder of the Hall of Fame Tony Reibel said, “On average over six hundred people attend the HOF awards events each January at Hawthorne Park Race Track to congratulate the winners and network with their past friends, teammates and competitors.” This year’s dinner event will be held on Saturday, January 20, beginning with cocktails starting at 6:30. The host will be Bob Sirott, a Chicago radio and television personality, avid softball player, and the current inductee in the Media category.
This year’s class of inductees include:
The Pioneer era representatives include such legendary players as pitcher / shortstop, Charles “Missy” Miceli, left-fielder and leadoff hitter, Stanley Stein, pitcher and decorated Korean War veteran, Thomas Curran, a left-fielder with one of the deadliest arms of his day, Anthony Ross who played with some of the great teams of the ’30s and ’40s and Charles Wilson, a World War II veteran and veteran of the softball wars and the Chicago Police Department.
The 1950 – 63 era representatives are Joseph Pusateri, a sure-handed center fielder who played until he was sixty-eight years old and Gerald Witry, a first baseman who played with some of the greatest players of softball early years.
The 1964 – 1979 inductees include first baseman and top leadoff hitter, Jimmy McCardle; second baseman and longtime Chicago Park District softball organizer, Buddy Haines; and Tom O’Malley, who played for five-plus decades and together with two other Hall of Famers formed one of the best outfields of their time. He currently is basketball coach at St. Xavier University in Chicago.
The 1980 – 92 inductees are Mark Frighetto, Hall of Fame board member and premier short center with the Runts, Cooper’s Sporting Goods, Bud North and the Miller 45s. Rich Mahoney, a third and first baseman with some of the surest hands in the game and a master of the “dump” hit. Al Placek played with the Mets, the Playboys and the Bud 45s.
1993 – Current inductees feature Ken Cooper, the long-ball hitting member of Cooper’s Sporting Goods, Splinter’s and Lettuce Entertain You; Bill Finnegan, the shortstop and third baseman for Bud North, Automart and March Manufacturing and Kurt Uidl, power hitter with the Turtles and Bud North.
Umpires: Terry Reilly, the umpire inductee, called balls and strikes for over five thousand games, including officiating at Major League national softball tournaments.
Holan Awards: Sally Gregory worked tirelessly on Chicago’s Southside to give young people a positive direction in life. Bob Pagorek, organized the legendary Eastside and Eastsiders teams.
Women: Dolly Reardon was a top shortstop and hitter on some of the legendary women’s teams during the Golden Age of women’s softball. She is also a member of the Hall of Fame at Quincy College. Lynn Miceli played softball on Chicago’s North Side ands is currently league director of the Grant Park (Chicago) Softball League.
Mayor Richard J. Daley Award: Terry O’Brien, softball player and president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, who helped negotiate the transfer of Thillens Stadium to the Chicago Park District.
Organizer: Joe Sarna, longtime softball player and softball organizer for the Chicago Park District.
Manager: Floyd Glover, manger of the Senators and other great teams from Chicago’s South Side. Ron Schabinger, manager of the Jackmen and a coach in the Chicago Public School system.
Wall of Fame: Rich DelGiudice coached the Hawks, the Flames and Nectar to 1100 wins during his long career.
Teams: The Rebels were one of the most competitive women’s teams during the late ’70s and early ’80s in Chicago. Commonwealth Edison established records for longevity and competitiveness for corporate teams. The Whips are called by many one of the greatest collections of players and major champions in the history of 16″ softball who played in the 80’s.