Softball superstars Tito’s 45s won the 50th annual No Glove Nationals tournament for the second year in a row on July 29, defeating the Chicago Dynasty team once again. Brian “Little B” Blackwell Jr. was named the most valuable player of the tournament.
Chicago Dynasty came in second in the 46-game tournament and Signature came in third.
Among the 24 teams competing, there was an eight-way tie for last, or 17th, place.
Started in 1969, the tournament began as an “All-Star” 16-inch softball tournament, a single-elimination affair, played during Labor Day weekend on the Park District of Forest Park’s only lit field. It was restricted to suburban teams and only 10 teams competed. The heavily-favored Maywood Agents defeated the Cinderella Forest Park All Stars on Sept. 1, 1969, becoming the first champions.
Popularity certainly increased the second year, when Chicago teams were invited. The competition later eventually evolved into the acclaimed No Glove Nationals Tournament, with attendance reaching 15,000 for the championship-round games.
In 2016, the Forest Park Review received the Media Award from the 16-inch Softball Hall of Fame, recognizing the newspaper’s coverage of the tourney throughout its lifetime.