Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kenosha Softball Hall of Fame

Over the last 39 years, the Rotary Club Tournament has become the "mark-your-calendar" event of the summer in Kenosha. Hot temperatures, ice cold beer and top-notch softball action still draw large crowds to Lincoln Park each year. In conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of their tournament, the Rotary Club will be the introducing the inaugural class of the Kenosha Softball Hall of Fame.
 Softball has been part of the fiber of Kenosha dating back to the 1930s, whether it was 12” or 16”, fast-pitch or slow-pitch. The high talent level of Kenosha softball is well known across the United States. In 1934, the Ke-Nash-A Blue Streaks fast-pitch team won the second-ever National Softball Association World Championship.

In 1962, the legendary Tirabassi Excavators proved their excellence by when they became A.S.A. World Champions. They accomplished this feat by running the table, going undefeated in the 64-team double-elimination slow-pitch tournament. Tirabassi added another World Championship in 2000.

From the mid 1970s through the 1990s, the popularity of softball skyrocketed, forming the “Golden Age” of Kenosha softball. Beginning in the 1980s, it was necessary to use ten diamonds to accommodate the vast number of teams playing city league softball. In addition to the city parks, there were also nine private venues in the area providing teams the opportunity to play every night of the week.

In recent years the number of teams playing softball in Kenosha may have diminished, but the level of talent certainly has not. The deep passion for this great game lives on and is evidenced by the huge success of the Rotary Tournament each year.

This year, the Rotary Club of Kenosha-West is proud to recognize the excellence in Kenosha softball by establishing the Kenosha Softball Hall of Fame.

Here is the inaugural and historic class of 2012:

Domenic & Amelia Tirabassi and Family

George Chromcick

Fred Bistrick

Mario Bonofiglio
Denny DeLoria
George Georno
Mark Hackbarth
Cheryl Hanks
Tom Keating
Harry Kraft
Dick Laba
Chuck Lange
Bill Pecnick
Nick Perrine
Gary “Wizard” Petersen
Jack Rice
John Rommelfanger
Joe Rosko
Jack Tracy
Joyce Westerman

Dr. Jim Fulmer honored me by asking me to be a member of the first-ever Kenosha Softball Hall of Fame selection committee. The other members of the committee are Pat Hegewald, Jerry Herrick, Chuck Lange, John Lynn, Gary Petersen, Jack Rice, Rocky Tirabassi and John Tracy.

Until next time…from the booth.

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