Uptown Chicago History Correspondent
We Played Baseball.
We played ball without the help of our parents, adult supervision, or Little League organizations. Yet we managed to get along and learned how to play ball and use good sportsmanship. The team you had was the kids on your street; the kids on the next street were another team. We considered ourselves lucky to have a baseball and a bat; we would share gloves and we had special rules if we couldn't fill out a team. Then it was right field out, and /or pitchers hands out.
But most ball playing was soft ball--not the 12" ball, but Chicago Softball, a big 16 incher. There were two official balls that could be accepted in a game, the Windy City Ball of the Clincher. The Windy City Ball had regular seams like a league ball and the Clincher had an accordion or staggered seam.
Now, I lived at 4737 Kenmore--it used to be postal zone 40--and I played in Alderman Freeman's midget league. Alderman Freeman was in the 48th ward then.
There were a lot of teams playing at Clarendon Park. Some of them even had uniforms. I had a shirt that had "48th Ward" on it and that was the extent of it.
I still have a 16" Clincher and the kids and grandkids laugh at it.
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