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Your Chicago: 16-Inch Softball

The Aces, a 16-inch softball team, has been playing for more than four decades. (CBS)

The Aces, a 16-inch softball team, has been playing for more than four decades. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — With summer in high gear, we often engage in our outdoor summer pursuits that bring us happiness.

For one group on the Northwest Side, that pursuit is softball –specifically, 16-inch softball, a Chicago tradition.

CBS 2’s Rob Johnson reports.

The Aces have been knocking the cover off the ball for 44 years now. Jimmy Kartheiser has been around since the beginning.

“You know, softball is an easy sport to play. You just need a bat and a ball. You start in the alleys. You play it in the parks,” he says.

Over the years, they’ve received their share of bumps, bruises, and crooked fingers playing gloveless 16-inch.

Eight of them have been playing for nearly 40 years.  But realizing they needed some younger blood in the lineup, they started inviting their kids to play. So, now it definitely has a family feel to it.

Take, for instance, big Tim Seiwert, who’s been an ace for 39 years and young Tim, who joined 12 years ago, like many of the sons, when he turned 18.

“It was incredible,” the younger Seiwert says. “I was the oldest of the sons that started to play, so all the other kids wanted to play. But everybody was waiting until their 18th birthday.”

Young Tim’s son, Ty, appears to be predestined for a similar softball fate, even if he’s not quite ready yet.

The Aces’ jerseys honor John Barrett, a 2008 inductee into the Chicago Softball Hall of Fame who passed away of cancer.