Chicago 16'' Softball Hall of
Fame Induction Dinner to be Held Saturday, Jan. 26
By George Bliss
CHICAGO: The Chicago 16" Softball Hall of Fame announced its
12th 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.
This year's dinner event will be held at 7 p.m. on
Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Hawthorne Park Race Track in Cicero, Ill.
"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 Al Maag said, "Over
600 people are expected to attend the HOF awards event again at
Hawthorne Park Race Track. It is always a wonderful night to congratulate
the winners and network with past friends, teammates and competitors.
In my opinion, one of the best managers in history who led the 45's,
one of the best teams in todays era, Bob Racsia will be honored.
We will also honor Frank Mustari, possibly the best shortstop ever."
Besides these men, this year's class of inductees
The Pioneer era representatives include such legendary
players as catcher, umpire, and manager, Floyd Berrien; Gene Mozdzierz,
a shortstop who played on Chicago's Northwest side; and Roy Kindt,
the organizer of the legendary Lyon's 45's.
The 1950-63 era representative is Gil Muratori, a
six-time MVP who played with Kenneth Allen and the Chicago Daily
News/Sun Times team. He also provided televised color commentary
with Tim Weigel, Greg Gumbel, and Mike Royko at the Windy City championships.
The 1964-79 era will honor inductees Paul Gunther,
who played with the legendary Sobies/American Rivet teams; Jim Mikuta,
who played with the Bobcats, the Sobies, and Rush Street powerhouse,
Butch McGuires; Dennis Wallace, the great left-handed hitter with
the Senators and the Flamingoes; and John Ben Rossi, long-time player
with Beetle Bomb and the Loafers.
The new 1980-92 inductees are Clayton Jones, the sure-handed
shortstop of the Safari Tigers; Jim Kraus, an MVP player with the
Whips; and Mark Wilson, the 7-time All-American with the Whips and
Men from Uncle.
1993-Current inductees feature Jerry Rhea, the outfielder/infielder
with the 45's, March Manufacturing, and Red Dog; Pat Heraty, who
helped the 45's win many of their national titles; and Frank Mustari,
perhaps the greatest shortstop of the game.
Umpires: Jim Ancanfora, the umpire inductee, has officiated
at 11 national tournaments, 19 state tournaments, and seven Forest
Park Tournaments. Paul Frerking played with the Bobcats, Whips,
and Sportstation before beginning a 20-year officiating career.
Holan Award: Jayne Zolna, the long-time friend of
softball, will receive this award for her efforts at improving this
Women: Kim Panozzo, the legendary third baseman for
the Bidayo's; and Pat Pasko, the coach and player for the Slo-Pokes,
will be honored in the Women's category.
Mayor Richard J. Daley Award: John Garvin, long-time
supporter of softball teams and founder of Garv-Inn, will receive
the Daley Award. Unfortunately, John passed away in 1990, so he
will he honored posthumously.
Organizer: George Schaaf will be honored for his 35-year
career of playing for and organizing teams around the southwest
suburbs of Chicago. He also built the Windy City Stadium in Bridgeview.
Manager: Bob Racsia, one of the best managers in history
who led the 45's, one of the best teams in todays era and
current national champions, will be honored.
Wall of Fame: John Barrett will be honored for his
36-year record of playing for and coaching the Aces, a Northwest-side
Teams: The Slo-Pokes were one of the most competitive
women's teams during the late '70s in Chicago. The Rizza Rockers
played in numerous "A" and Major Nationals, and captured
tournament titles during the '80s and '90s. The Daily News/Sun Times
team, co-founded by Pulitzer Prize winning author Mike Royko, has
battled on Chicago's softball diamonds for the past 30 years.
The Chicago 16 Softball Hall of Fame is the
premier organization for supporting and recognizing the game of
16 softball since 1996.
Tickets are $55 and are available by calling 630-232-7996.
Tickets can also be bought at the door, however, advance reservations
For Chicago 16" Softball Hall of Fame
Don DeBat, 312-944-1177
Al Maag, 602-363-6038
Bill Wadington, 630-852-8817
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