CHICAGO (CBS) — No sport is more unique to Chicago than 16-inch softball. One group started playing 50 years ago and never stopped.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports the team that played Tuesday at Indian Road Park hopes its long history helps them secure a permanent spot in the sport’s history.
On any given Tuesday in Chicago, you can find the Aces team playing 16-inch softball as they have for the past half a century.
“I figure we’ve played 1,300 games in the course of the 50 years,” said Jim Kartheiser, a founding member of Aces.
Kartheiser said he helped form the team in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood back in 1968.
“It’s just 50 years of being with the guys. Just the camaraderie we started back in high school has just carried on,” explained Ray Sugrue, a founding member of the team.
Through marriages and kids, divorces and deaths, and now two to three generations, the friendship of the Aces players remains strong.
“We have seven or eight sons playing on the team with their dads,” said Sugrue. “Grandsons are in uniform waiting to play.”
“Marriages don’t even last 50 years nowadays, but this friendship has,” said Roger Sugrue, a second generation Aces player.
Now there is a bid for the team’s legacy to last, as well. The team is waiting to hear if it will be accepted into the 16-Inch Softball Hall of Fame.
“The minimum requirement is at least ten years. So with 50 years, we hope we’ve got a good shot at it,” said Kartheiser .
Whether or not they get accepted into the hall of fame, the Aces said they will just keep adding plays to their lifelong passion.
“The grandchildren understand the importance of this. They can see the friendships that we have with these guys and they understand what it means to have good friends and keep those friendships alive,” Kartheiser said.
Kartheiser hopes to hear something from the Hall of Fame, located in Forest Park, within the next month.