Ron Olesiak’s softball resume is unique among major players. The power hitting Chicago 16-inch Hall of Fame inductee can point to National Championships and MVP awards in both 16-inch and 12-inch softball.
Toward the end of his storied 16-inch career, Olesiak began playing 12-inch, and in 1978 he began playing big time 12-inch full time. He joined Milt Pappa’s Chicago Storm squad in 1982. The following year, he played for Ted Stephian’s Cleveland-based CAN Insurance team under ex-Cub player Joe Pepitone. His next move was to Lilly Air Systems, where he scaled the heights.
Always a competitor, Olesiak looked forward to playing the top teams like Steele’s, with Mike Macenko, Jerry’s Catering and Howard’s Furniture.
Playing before the invention of today’s “trampoline effect” bat technology and “hot” balls, Olesiak pounded the ball over stadium fences the old-fashioned way – with a balanced swing and brute power. Yet, lost in the glare of his gaudy offensive stats is the fact that he also won six Gold Gloves in his career as a centerfielder in 16-inch and at third and second base in 12-inch.
“Ronnie O” still plays a little softball here and there when time allows, but at 52 and a busy schedule of NBA games eight months of the year, he’s content to “let the past be past.”