The Kenosha Rotary Club is looking to bring back the good old days of softball.
“Softball in Kenosha and all of Wisconsin used to be a big deal. For us baby boomers, it is sad to see the state that the game is in.”
Jim Fulmer longs for the heyday of the sport. The president of the Kenosha Softball Hall of Fame recently announced that they are accepting nominations for the Hall of Fame class of 2023.
Fulmer has been the co-commissioner of the Rotary Club annual softball tournament for more than 30 years, and last summer was the organization’s 50th anniversary.
In 2011, a player suggested the formation of the Rotary Hall of Fame, and Fulmer found that the softball tradition of excellence in the city of Kenosha predated the Rotary.
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So the Kenosha Softball Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Rotary Club, was formed, and there are currently 131 members in six categories – Men, Women, Fast Pitch, Umpires, Sponsors and Contributors.
Fulmer shared an interesting anecdote highlighting softball’s history in Kenosha.
“Although softball was invented in the late 1800’s, it really became popular at the 1932 Chicago World’s Fair,” Fulmer said. “The Fair held the first ever World Softball Tournament. It was attended by over 60,000 fans. They immediately realized this should be an annual event. The very next year, a team from Kenosha sponsored by Nash Motors, the KeNasha Blue Streaks, won the world tourney. Since then, a team from Kenosha has won the world tournament in 1962, 1969, and 2000.”
“So our Rotary Club had already built a food pavilion at Lincoln Park. The “Hall” became a brick garden attached to the pavilion. Needless to say, many city obstacles had to be hurdled in order for it to come to fruition.”
Some of the Softball Hall of Fame members include Nick Perrine and Dick Laba, stars of the Milwaukee Schlitz professional softball team, along with Mario Bonofiglio, who had previously played quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes and led them to a bowl victory over Bart Starr and Alabama .
So, Hall member Joe Rosko was a World War II prisoner of war.
Nominations are due March 1 and should be sent to Fulmer at [email protected]
Since statistics aren’t always available, Fulmer requests nominations include years played, teams played on, team success, tournament success, individual awards, or a special memory that may influence the committee.
This summer’s softball tournament and the Hall of Fame are sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kenosha-West.
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