Kenosha, like a lot of cities in these United States, has always held sports activities in high regard. But, here in Kenosha, there was a time when the game of slowpitch softball enjoyed a popularity that could only be called “biblical.”
One could argue that the Golden Age of Kenosha Softball began in 1962 when Tirabassi’s Excavators won the World Industrial Softball Tournament in Pittsburgh. The resultant publicity from that triumph peaked the interest of ballplayers in Kenosha to the relatively new game of slowpitch softball. In the years that followed, players either wanted to play for Tirabassi’s or tried to assemble teams to compete with Tirabassi’s.
Slowpitch softball was an attractive alternative to playing baseball. Most baseball player’s careers were done certainly by the time they finished high school. Slowpitch softball did not require the ability to hit a curveball nor did it require a pitcher to throw a curveball. The version that used the 12-inch ball required many of the same skills as hardball, but it was a game that many more people had the level of skill to play and still enjoy the competition. Slowpitch softball was an opportunity for friends to get together and socialize and it only took one hour to play a game. Then it was on to the serious socializing.
For somewhere around thirty years, slowpitch softball was the game of choice for Kenoshans.
I had the opportunity to live through much of that era, from watching Tirabassi’s play in the ‘60s and reading about their tournament exploits, to playing hundreds of games and dozens of tournaments over a twenty-year career, from 1968 to 1988.
Paul Vagnoni has witnessed, firsthand, Kenosha Softball over the years. From his many years in the booth at Finney’s West and his long association with the 400 Club, he has direct personal knowledge of the teams and the characters that made up the Golden Age of Kenosha Softball. To his credit, he has taken the time to put his observations in this book.
More Kenosha Softball is not only full of times, dates, places and who won and who lost, but we also hear from many of the legendary players, managers, umpires and characters that made the era so special. This book will take a reader though a time in Kenosha when thousands of people were playing the game of softball on hundreds of teams. An era when there were as many as 72 teams were participating in the City Tournament and managers would have to get in line at the Recreation Department at 4:00AM just to make sure that they got a spot in a league.
It was a special time in Kenosha. Paul Vagnoni’s More Kenosha Softball chronicles that special time.
Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman
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That’s the foreword that Mayor Bosman wrote for More Kenosha Softball. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, call me at 262 671-4251.