12th Annual Chicago Sixteen-Inch
Hall of Fame
At Hawthorn Race Course In Cicero On January 26th
Chicago Sixteen-Inch Hall of Fame
Class of 2008 - Photo by David Hagen
By Bill Wadington & Irv Porter
CICERO: The twelfth Annual Chicago
Sixteen Inch Hall of Fame induction dinner was held at the Gold
Cup Room at Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero on January 26th, 2006.
More than five hundred people had bought tickets to the dinner with
a walk up crowd of an additional two hundred plus people bringing
the evening attendance to nearly eight hundred people.
After dinner the crowd settled in for the evenings festivities as
the Master of Ceremonies Mr. George Bliss set a lively pace keeping
the evenings festivities moving as twenty three individuals and
three teams entered into the hallowed halls of the sport that they
all love so dearly.
Bliss opened the program by recognizing Chicago's Lane Tech High
School for winning the 2007 Chicago Public League Sixteen Inch city
championship. Member of the Lane Tech ball club filled the stage
with their coach Brent Bradish accepting a plaque from the Hall
of Fame and saying, "Hopefully these guys will continue playing
sixteen inch softball keeping the game alive in the city of Chicago."
The Pioneers were inducted first starting with Floyd Berrien.
Berrien grew up at 31st and Calumet. He attended Douglas Grammar
School and Wendell Phillips High School, class of 1944.
Berrien started playing softball in 1942 with two teams: the Pepsi
Cola Aces at 33rd and Wentworth and at 62nd and Calumet and with
the Gaylord's at Madden Park. He also played with the Vicks and
the Van Dykes. He was a catcher who hit in the sixth spot in the
lineup. He also played left field.
In 1957 he managed and coached youth softball teams before he started
umpiring in 1960 for most teams on Chicago's South and West sides.
He retired in 1992.
While accepting his place in the Hall of Fame Berrien said, "This
is something that I never thought that I would see." He added,
"When we started to play softball we were on sandlots there
was no grass. This is a pleasure. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
Next on the agendas was Roy Kindt the founder of the Lyons
45's. In nominating Roy Kindt to the Hall of Fame, fellow Hall of
Famer, Bob LaMont, describes Roy as someone who was never in the
limelight but was someone who had a profound effect on the popularity
of 16-inch softball. As one of softball's great managers, he played
with some of Chicago's great athletes during the pre-World War II
days, earned three battle stars fighting in the Pacific during World
War II, and then managed a Hall of Fame team during the 1970s.
In his acceptance speech Kindt said, "It is a great pleasure
to be here tonight. I will cherish this the rest of my life."
Gene 'Moz' Mozdzierz started playing competitive softball
at Thillen's Stadium with the Chi-Orioles club and the Northtown
Vaults when he was just fifteen. In 1945 they took second place
at Thillen's and in 1946 the Chi-Orioles won the Harold-American
title when they defeated the Southside Cardinals.
He then went on to play against such legendary teams as Midland
Motors, Kool Vent Awnings, Monica Orioles, Ma's Tavern, Wrightwood
Park and Martin Jewelers. He played periodically with teams sponsored
by Congressman Dan Rostenkowski. The Chi-Orioles and the Rostenkowski
teams captured twenty-five plus league titles. During his forty-four
year playing career, teams he played on won 833 games against only
He played shortstop for forty-four seasons (from 1945 to 1988) and
was known for his speed and outstanding defensive skills. He batted
leadoff for most of his teams for most of his career.
Mozdzierz told those in attendance, "Thanks to all the fine
people who came to the dinner and who will enjoy tonight's festivities.
Good health, good luck and God bless you. Thank you!"
Kim Panozzo's primary team was the Bidayo's, but she also
played with Irish Express and Seldomly Sober. She played five nights
a week in Oak Lawn, Blue Island, Worth, Alsip and at Ridge and Kennedy
From the late 1990s to the early years of 2000, the Bidayo's won
the Grant Park Tournament nine of ten years. They also won many
ASA and USSSA tournaments during that time period.
As a third baseman for the Bidayo's, Kim was best known for her
defense, winning all-tournament team awards from the '80s to the
'90s. But she could also hit the ball and drive in runs. During
one Metro Tournament at Hart Park in Blue Island, she went thirteen
for fourteen for the tournament.
She was named team MVP of the Bidayo's in 1992 and 1995, but she
especially remembers the 1992 award because her parents, who rarely
missed any of her games, were there to see her receive the award.
Her father, who was also her first coach, passed away shortly after
she received the award.
Besides softball, she also excelled at women's football. In 2002
she was inducted into the Women's National Football Hall of Fame.
As a member of the Orphan's, she was selected to two offensive All-American
teams and was selected ten times as a First Team All-American Defensive
Panozzo said, "Its an absolute honor to be the one standing
up here tonight. Just one more great memory that softball has given
(L / R) Hall of Fame inductee's
Floyd Berrien & Roy Kindt
Hall of Fame inductee
Gene 'Moz' Mozdzierz
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