All Oak Park youth ballplayers to be adorned in White Sox uniforms this spring

Oak Park Youth Baseball/Softball partners with Sox

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By Brad Spencer

Sports Editor

Oak Parkers are going to be seeing a lot of jerseys and caps adorned with one particular Major League Baseball logo this spring, and it's sure to cause a stir with those who pledge allegiance to other ballclubs (or maybe not).

No matter where your loyalties fall or how strong they may be, the Chicago White Sox are coming to town. For the 2013 season, Oak Park Youth Baseball/Softball players and coaches will be outfitted in Sox jerseys and caps. That's every player and coach, from T-ball all the way up to Bronco or 14U, in both baseball and softball. 

The partnership with the Sox and Oak Park's youth baseball/softball organization isn't anything new. For 32 years, OPYB/S has been hosting White Sox Night, a fundraiser where players get to march in a parade on the field before taking in a game at U.S. Cellular Field. The organization was the first to hold a fundraising night back when the Sox played at Comiskey Park.

Now the Sox have extended their appreciation by providing uniforms for not only OPYB/S, but also leagues in Downers Grove, Elmhurst and Orland Park.

Other benefits to the partnership include the Sox featuring an OPYB/S player on the scoreboard at every homestand, and providing youth coaches with instructional videos. OPYB/S will also offer instructional opportunities for its participants through the White Sox Academy at reduced rates, according to Bill Sullivan, first-year president of OPYB/S and former director of the softball division. Sullivan will begin his sixth year as a member of the board in the spring.

"This partnership is far more than just receiving free uniforms, which, in itself, provides an economical enhancement to our budget," he said. "This will help us increase the funds for scholarships many times over, so that every kid who wants to play ball in Oak Park will have the opportunity."

Most of Oak Park's older youth teams will be wearing variations of White Sox uniforms. The various styles include white with black pinstripes, black, grey and 1983 throwback jerseys, to name a few, according to a White Sox press release.

Sullivan said that at the T-ball level, where in the past teams featured the names of different pro ballclubs, the White Sox uniforms will come in different colors.

"With around 64 teams at the lower level, we are going to have to get very creative on how we name them," he said, suggesting Red-White Sox, Blue-White Sox, etc., as possible team names. The upper levels will continue to be designated by the names of sponsors.

As for any conflicts of interest this might bring for, say, die-hard Cubs families, Sullivan, who calls himself a Chicago baseball fan, hopes those loyalists can look past the uniforms for the good of Oak Park Youth Baseball/Softball.

"I can't speak for every citizen of Oak Park, but I think most people will see this as a massive improvement to the program as a whole. This alliance helps improve the quality of coaching and the quality of play."

The partnership agreement currently only covers the 2013 season, but Sullivan added, "Obviously, both sides are hoping that it is successful and that we can continue it in future years."

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Zach's Dad from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 12:26 PM

The fact that anyone would have to wear a 1983 throwback Sox jersey is hideous! That may be the worst kit in the history of sport. Cubs fans are a classier bunch than Sox fans... what else? Everyone working in T-ball has been great through all 3 seasons we've spent! Can't wait until Jr. Bronco! Hope we get the pin stripes!!!!

@tonu Kirk  

Posted: December 19th, 2012 9:51 PM

And you would be wrong. Still see that you have not put up the cash that the Sox are, but that you are still whining about it. Don't hear this whining going on in the other towns that are doing this. Again, put your money where your mouth talks...

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: December 19th, 2012 3:09 PM

"Fees Will Stay the Same for Fourth Year in a Row. When registration opens January 19, fees will remain $135 for t-ball and $155 for all other house leagues." (From the email OPYBS sent out yesterday) Why do I feel like it was $120 for t-ball last year?

Tony Kirk  

Posted: December 19th, 2012 2:24 PM

@Whiner I see that you still don't have enough courage to put your name to your comments. Since you remain anonymous, I can only fear that you have never taken the time to volunteer as a coach. It is too bad, since you have such strong feelings about OPYBS. I look foward to the White Sox partnership this spring and to have my kids take advantage of their clinics & training. But don't be surprised to see the Cubs, Indians, Blue Jays, Royals, A's, Rockies or other jerseys in OP this spring!

@ Tony Kirk  

Posted: December 19th, 2012 10:02 AM

Based on the email from OPYB/S, it is more than uniforms the Sox are providing. Coaching clinics (which are sorely needed), discounted training sessions, etc. are also included. Until you, and your crybaby buddies, can provide the same, or pay for the same, you should shut your trap. Put your money where your mouth is.

Tony Kirk  

Posted: December 18th, 2012 10:32 PM

Bunch of Whiners? I can appreciate your position re the costs associated with the many activities our kids participate. But if you can't man-up & put your name to your comments, how can you ask others to 'grow a pair?' Why don't the Tball teams keep their traditional uniforms (tshirts & hats). Do they really need a uniform upgrade? Have the sponsored teams don all the versions of White Sox uniforms! I think it is about 50/50 in uniform numbers. Sox win, OPYBS wins, tradition wins!

What a bunch of whiners  

Posted: December 18th, 2012 9:18 AM

Know what would be nice? If those doing all the whining here would put their money where their mouth is and ponied up the cash to pay for the unis like the Sox did. I am sure OPYB/S would be glad to take the cash from you. Until then, you are nothing more than the standard passive-aggressive crybabies that reside in this town. Man up, grow a pair and do something constructive if you do not like it!

OP Parent  

Posted: December 17th, 2012 9:20 PM

There are two seperate issues. First, why did the board really elect to sell out? Second, why does tradition matter. To the first, it is largely economics. The program is breakeven at best with rising costs, poor fiscal management and inability to invest in fields etc. The $50k is a temporary silver bullet which deflects the core issue of poor management by the board. To the second issue, of course tradion matters - why else wouldpeople be wearing ND who barely went to college if at all?

Tball dad from OP from Oak park  

Posted: December 17th, 2012 5:33 PM

Coach Ditka has it all wrong. Parents rake the fields on Saturdays, Volunteers coach, provide snacks ect.. all in the name of providing a great experience for the kids. Ed O'B volunteers more of his time to oak park baseball than almost anyone else and is a voice I will listen to. Telling parents that the team flags or other team spirit wear they bought for their kids will no longer be allowed is BS! This probably could have been handled better by oak park baseball.

Da Coach  

Posted: December 17th, 2012 12:30 PM

Enuf is Enuf and ED O'B, see that? That's your IQ, buddy! ZERO! I don't believe in living in the past. Living in the past is for cowards. If you live in the past, you die in the past.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: December 17th, 2012 11:48 AM

Reading the justification for White Sox sponsorship makes me feel like OP is an impoverished community. Our registration fees already pay for equipment, playing field usage, and financial aid, parents volunteer for coaching, local sponsors pay for uniforms, and our property taxes pay the Park District to maintain fields. OPYB/S is self-sufficient, and should not need or desire White Sox advertising in the guise of uniforms. If it's not broken, leave it alone.

U -could- do -better  

Posted: December 17th, 2012 11:31 AM

All White Sox teams. How lame and uncreative by all involved.

Coach Ditka from Oak Park  

Posted: December 17th, 2012 10:54 AM

What? Adults wasting time reminiscing about past TBall victories? People who live in the past are cowards & losers. This White Sox thing is about the kids & having great programs available to all. The tradition is in the games & the relationships built, not the shirt worn. Grow up people. Get yer mouths shut!

ED O'B from Oak Park  

Posted: December 15th, 2012 2:03 PM

Very well put, Tony Kirk. Most T-Ball coaches ,players and families get it, especially if you have had 2 or more kids go thru the program. Well,maybe with the money we could save by staying home from the annual white sox outing we could afford to repurchase our identity , which the white sox and the board have so graciously stolen from us.

Tball Dad from Oak park  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 6:08 PM

Agree with Tony Kirk. None of my kids can recall the name of their soccer team but everyone knows their tball team. Still going to bring our team flag and jerseys to the game. I'm sure that all 'scholarship' money goes to older/travel leagues while $0 makes it's way to tball. Good thing is now I don't have to feel guilted into paying $35 for $15 tickets on White Sox night.

@ OP Parent  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 3:38 PM

the bottom line is I am a nothing more than a customer (and a nobody). Each organization and it's leadership is ultimately responsible for their actions... and if parents are happy with every player on the same team, hey who we am to question that brillance? have at it, knock yourself out! see you at the SOX game or 11...

@@ OP Parent  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 3:23 PM

The secular decline of baseball is part due to issues outside OPYBS control. Growth of lacrosse, demographic changes toward more diversity, movements to cities vs. rural etc. The referred to ineptness is in regard to rigidity and other issues which are better not discussed on this forum.

@ OP Parent  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 3:02 PM

My underwear and analytical skills are just fine, but thanks for asking. You still have not answered my initial questions. How about these instead: Given the rising PD field usage fees, how does the Sox agreement make the OPYBS "inept"? Would you prefer they raise registration fees? If OPYBS is shrinking, perhaps this is due in part to the current financial conditions. Wouldn't increased scholarships, afforded by the agreement with the Sox, benefit families and help to reverse such a trend?

@@ OP Parent  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 2:19 PM

Perhaps if you used your own analytical skills and do the simple math, you would realize that 1/3 of OP baseball is not in need o scholarships (i.e. 50k/150 per player). Second, there are two two factors most people who are informed about the program understand. 1. The park district fees are rising (tripled in the last 5 years) per player and 2. OPYBS (and baseball overall) have been shrinking over the last 3 years. Finally, the deficit/position is no secret. don't get your underwear bunched

@ OP Parent  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 1:49 PM

Based upon your consecutive posts, I asked two very straightforward questions that you did not answer.

@ @ OP Parent   

Posted: December 10th, 2012 1:41 PM

@ OP Parent. Is that some kind of riddle? or one of those who's on first skits?

@ OP Parent  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 1:25 PM

@OP Parent: You state that OPYBS acceptance of the White Sox uniforms was an effort to cover the existing OPYBS deficit. However, in your next comment, you call on the Board to release their financials. Would you be kind enough to explain how you are aware of exisiting deficits if you do not currently have access to their financials? Secondly, if you do not have access to their financials, how do you know how much of their budget goes towards scholarships?

OP Parent  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 12:19 PM

We challenge the Board to release financials. Again, this money is needed to fix the whole caused by ineptness. anyone wonder why fields are in such bad shape (i.e. no diamondry, injury kits, bases) etc. The reality is they needed the money and are using scholarships as a way to sell it. Sad that people cant just be honest.

OP Parent  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 12:16 PM

Kirk - your point is very insigthful but the only issue is fees will no go down. In fact, bet is most of thie saving go to cover OPYBS existing deficit. Anyone wonder why budgets are not public. Yes, the league will survive but due to the hard work of dad/moms not the work or the leadership. Also, you would think the customers would have some input into decision. Cal supris

Tony Kirk from OP  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 10:40 AM

VANILLA... Remember in 2014 we beat VANILLA in the VANILLA league championship to advance to the VANILLA league city finals? I think the playoff win from 2015 when our team, VANILLA, beat the older VANILLA team with a late inning double play. Well I remember in my 3rd year, my little brother played on our VANILLA team and made a great play to rob the VANILLA team from advancing to the playoffs. VANILLA won!!! No, I just remember my Dad saving all that $ on entry fees for the VANILLA league.

Empty seats  

Posted: December 7th, 2012 10:16 AM

Clearly the winner is the WS organization who needs people to fill their seats even when they are in contention to win a division. Who sets the criteria as to how teams are named? Seems like an overstretch that the donor could do that. Maybe a WS logo at every game or field would be suffice. The money is NOT that much. The WS ROI is much better than OPYB.

Mike O'Mara  

Posted: December 7th, 2012 9:42 AM

Why do Oak Parkers take everything so seriously? Just a village paying homage to the only professional baseball team in town. Plain and simple a brilliant decision by the folks at youth baseball. Go White Sox!

A former baseball parent  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 7:06 PM

These comments (they can't really be all about the uniform, can they?) seem to show the division in our community over its youth baseball program. Is it about young kids having fun? The serious development of players for a competitive HS program? Maintaining tradition? Innovation? Can it be all of these things? I hope the Board does not dismiss these comments as idle chatter, but uses them to focus on the change that seems necessary to create a well-defined, cohesive program.

Dave from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 2:36 PM

Thank you, Sam. As a White Sox fan, I commend them for their interest in the community. As a baseball fan, I think it stinks that this will become a league of (insert color here)-White Sox. How many kids become fans of other teams in other cities when wearing a Rays shirt or a Braves shirt? If my kid is #3 on the Nationals, he/she may want to know who that is and I get a chance to teach about other players in MLB. They might even want to see the Nationals when they play here or on TV.

Tom O'Grady from Chicago  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 1:55 PM

No good deed goes unpunished. I'm a huge Cubs fans and always will be... but give the White Sox credit for doing something they don't need to do.

Mike O'Mara from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 10:26 AM

The single greatest day in Oak Park history! If loyalties to this village were waining, they should be bolstered once again. Go Oak Park White Sox.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 7:47 PM

In typical Oak Park fashion, while the playing fields remain in unacceptable condition, OPYB/S chooses to fix something that is not broken, by replacing uniforms. We support our local youth team sponsors and uniforms, not the Chicago White Sox.

Sam Sakellaris from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 7:35 PM

In my 66 years ,40 years as a coach,board member,and ump, have never wore White Sox apparel and don't intend to start now. There is a great sense of tradition in Tball with Managers like Ed O'Brien and Don Stapleton. Please don't make it generic.

Gert from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 7:19 PM

OPYBS and all spin offs = Animal Farm!

Vince Dierkes VII  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 6:32 PM

The same idea, a feeder system, is why the OPRF football team has been so dismal (a 5-4 season is reason to celebrate recently) in the past ten years.

Vince Dierkes VII  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 6:30 PM

ffff, it appears you and muntz are having a tough time seeing the big picture. The younger leagues (T-ball, Jr. Bronco, etc.) are meant to breed the best talent for the high school program. This system has made the OPRF team so successful in the past

Tball parent from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 3:53 PM

Having sunk money into buying "stuff" for my boys' MLB team (sweatshirt, flag), I'm a little miffed about this. In the big scheme of things, it's not important, but the money is REALLY needed to improve the crappy field. Not for jerseys


Posted: December 5th, 2012 9:32 AM

And I have plenty of memories from by baseball playing days. But they extend beyond the team names (although I do remember them), my W-L record in T-Ball. Tradition extends beyond the name on a T-Ball jersey.


Posted: December 5th, 2012 9:26 AM

Turco - No, I did not play baseball in OP as I chose to move out of the town I grew up in. In our leagues, we all wore MLB uniforms, but it wasn't always that way. Some leagues' teams were once named after Indian tribes, birds, etc.

OPYB/S Parent from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 8:06 AM

It was my understanding that uniform expenses were paid by 60 local sponsors (i.e. Al's Grill) , in exchange for team naming rights. I would much rather have a local organization sponsor our youth teams than the White Sox organization.

ffff from ffff  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 4:57 PM

Mike: Compete with other towns? For what? Aren't these little kids? You're scaring me Mike. You're scaring everybody.

Sox fan  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 4:42 PM

OP, your post is funny. Did the departing Eagles give a press conference? Must not have made the paper. I'm sure the league will survive. I think OPYBS is laying the groundwork for the future.

Turco Franco  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 4:21 PM

RDS and BC bring up great points about the things kids remember from their formative years. Something Muntz seems unable to grasp. It is obvious he never played baseball in OP (LL? All Stars?), so how could he ever relate to this idea of tradition?

Sox fan  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 4:18 PM

to compete with sophisticated programs in other towns. I hope attention is paid to maintaining balanced teams and recruiting coaches who value good sportsmanship going forward. These things will keep the program strong.

Sox fan  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 4:08 PM

My son played in OPYBS and I appreciate the recent efforts to improve the league, including winter workouts, fall ball, more objective tryouts and more travel ball opportunities. This Sox tie-in will provide more training options. This is necessary


Posted: December 4th, 2012 3:52 PM

The bigger news is a large group of Eagle players announced they are leaving the program this week, there are not enough fields to play games due to ridgeland being closed and there is a shortage of coaches. Yes, this annoucement is perfume on a pig

Barry C from Tinley Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 3:49 PM

I was on the White Sox back in '86 and the Royals (led of course by Mr. O'Brien) destroyed us. I blame the shoddy Maple Park field. While it is great the big league White Sox are supporting OP Baseball, there is something to be said for tradition.


Posted: December 4th, 2012 3:42 PM

RDS - I do get're ranking teams of 6 year olds learning the game. "Southside Championship"?!?! I played T-Ball, LL, Travelling All Stars, etc. I have zero recollection of my T Ball stats, W-L. No one else does either...nor should.

The Real Donald Stapleton from Maple Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 3:14 PM

Yes, T-Ball tradition is a very real thing, and as far as it goes, the 2000 Royals were one of the best. I was coaching the Tigers then, and they handled us in the SouthSide Championship. Hats off to Eddie O for that one. Muntz, you just don't get it

Dancing Lenny from I don't know where I live  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 2:35 PM

Clear Overstepping by a handful of overweight bunt-averse White Sox Fanboys currently running OPRF youth baseball----into the ground. Would have bought you season tix myself fellas, had we known. Scholarships? To where? Harvard? Spare us.

Dave from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 2:12 PM

Maybe if fees went to $80 or so, more kids could play instead of OPYBS hanging on to the money for "scholarships". It's not like it is going to the Park District for their stellar upkeep of the fields.

OP Baseball Dad  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 2:00 PM

Ed Obrien is a great coach and excellent guy. OP has is lucky to have coaches like him, Frank/Mike Turkos and others who diedicated 30+ years of their lives to helping kids have fun and be better ball players.


Posted: December 4th, 2012 1:47 PM

" team in T-Ball history... tradition..." We are talking about T-Ball, right? Who cares who was the "village champ" back when nsync ruled the airwaves. Just teach the kids fundamentals and sportsmanship. Perspective, folks.

Royals Village Champs '00 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 1:24 PM

The Royals have, and always will be the best team in T-Ball history. The lack of respect for tradition is ruining the integrity of the entire league, top down. The new OPYB admins needs to talk to Ed O'Brien before they make anymore bonehead decision

ED from OAK PARK  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 10:28 AM

Is OPYBS saying that we have had to turn down kids for scholarships in recent years? If not,then it would seem like the savings should be passed on to everyone by reducing their enrollment fee.

Dave from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 9:53 AM

Sam - perhaps you could get some small Royals pins to put on the hats. I was thinking of doing the same thing for our team.

Sam Sakellaris from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2012 9:20 AM

After almost 40 years of Royals T-Ball the Royals will become something like the Navy Blue White Sox.....simply too bad....hopefully we can buy our own shirts.....

Former OPYB Player  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 9:29 PM

I'm a die hard White Sox fan, so I do like this, but if it were the cubs that were doing this for Oak Park I'd be happy too. It's good for the kids to wear a Chicago sports team instead of the padres or some other team far away.

Former Softball Player and Current Coach from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 8:32 PM

I think Oak Parkers should be happy that a MLB team has recognized what a great program we have here. The playing fee will not go down this year, but due to the money saved the board will be able to offer more scholarships and get more kid to play.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 6:30 PM

Mr Clark, I too played S Side OPYB, & can't recall anyone thinking that OP on the hat was a badge of honor. We wore it because it's what was there. I knew Mr Dierkes, & he'd have been 1st in line to get a deal on uni's from MLB. He was a capitalist.

Tom Clark from Oak park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 5:33 PM

Years ago, I was the lone dissenter among the OPYB/S board that approved usjng MLB replica hats instead of the "OP" hats that every kid I grew up with wore as a badge of honor. I feel bad for the many south siders who dreamed that their kids would play for the same t-ball team as they did - as many have over the years. Perhaps, if I had stayed on the Board I could have prevented the discarding of tradition in order to save a few bucks. Poor Vince Dierkes is rolling in his grave.

Tomoly from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 5:31 PM

MP - it's not about that it's the Sox (okay maybe a little). It's about them wearing the SAME uniform. I'll gladly pay another $20 for a shirt that has a different team. Being called the green sox, blue sox, and purple sox is craziness.

M P  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 5:01 PM

Typical cubs fans response. I don't see the flubs donating anything to Oak Park kids. And besides, why would any kid want to wear the uniforms of the worst team in all of baseball? (great 2012 record cubs!) cubs=Completely Useless By September

Tomoly from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 4:51 PM

This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard of. Leave to Oak Park to come up with a plan like this.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 4:29 PM

For the softball leagues, they could use uniforms based on the shorts the White Sox wore back in the Bill Veeck area.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 3:55 PM

I'd bet anything that the fee won't be reduced at all. I do believe a royalty is paid to MLB for the team names - I'm sure that won't change.


Posted: December 3rd, 2012 2:54 PM

As a lifelong Cubs fan, I hate this. Great marketing by the Sox. It's clear what they get ?"%uFFFDexposure in some affluent West/South suburbs. But I don't see much benefit to OPYBS. DVDs? Must be $. How much less will it cost to play this year?


Posted: December 3rd, 2012 12:55 PM

As a neutral fan I think this is good news but,,,,,,, "we are going to have to get very creative on how we name them," he said, suggesting Red-White Sox, Blue-White Sox, etc., as possible team names",,,,,, thats what you call really creative?

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 9:39 AM what. Where is their rich owner helping our community? Besides, Obama is a Sox fan so in OP that trumps everything. In fact, all VOP employees should wear Sox garb to pay homage to the Current Occupant.

William Ligue  

Posted: December 1st, 2012 6:03 PM

Sorry about attacking a coach with my son. We are Sox fans but had too much to drink...and smoke.

The Bartman  

Posted: December 1st, 2012 4:16 PM

Cubs stink and so do the Cubs' owners! Cubs fans are losers!

Cub Fan  

Posted: December 1st, 2012 12:26 PM

I would think OP has more Cub fans than Sox Fans. Just sayin.

Marty Bracco from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 1st, 2012 10:31 AM

This is great news! Congrats to the OPYB/S board for this very creative partnership!

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