FOREST PARK, Ill. – Sixteen-inch softball is part of Chicago’s DNA.
“The greatest game on dirt. The greatest game in Chicago,” remarked Hall of Fame president Ron Kubicki. “The game started here back in 1887. This is the game. Part of Chicago is 16-inch softball.”
For the Hall of Fame’s 25th Anniversary, 150 inductees made the trek to Forest Park, ranging in age up to 103 years old.
The celebration wasn’t just a bunch of legends getting together to tell old stories, but a push for the next generation to be enshrined.
“We built a beautiful museum in Forest Park,” explained Hall of Fame co-founder Al Maag. “Now, it’s time to get more kids to play and keep the game going. It’s a great game. People should start putting down their phones and go out and play some ball because that’s how you make friends.”
“They’re our friends for life,” Kubicki noted. “When you’re in the game and it’s in your blood, on the field we want to beat you. It’s competition and it’s great competition. Off the field, everybody gets together.”
The game has fielded players from all walks of life throughout its history. The only thing not welcome are gloves. Never had them. Never will.
“It’s the best game there is because all you need is a bat and a ball, and don’t be afraid to hurt your fingers.”
The next class was supposed to be inducted last April. However, due to Covid-19, the ceremony was postponed until November 2021.