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Brief History
    In the spring of 1996, I inherited a fledgling baseball team with nice uniforms and no real players. The original founder of the team (we'll call him Dick) intended to start a club and enter the Chicago Metro League in order to avenge a perceived injustice perpetrated by a former manager. Lesson learned by Dick: revenge is never a good reason to start anything. Dick was quickly overwhelmed by the amount of work and time it takes to organize a group of young jocks and soon bolted with the team's meager capital and most of the really cool hats we ordered. It seems Dick's first priority was looking good. Players, I suppose he imagined, would magically appear from a cornfield and bow in gratitude for the chance to play. Not many cornfields in Chicago. So, to make a long story short, I gathered up the few players who had committed to play, found a few more through word of mouth and managed to put together a roster of twelve or thirteen guys for that inaugural season. Basically, if you had $100 and a glove, you made the team. Needless to say, it was long season. Aside from myself, there are only four guys left from that year. Allan Terrutty, Damian Perkins, Frank Schmeda and Brad Wolter joined the Devils in that first season and are a large part of the reason why the team still exists today.

    In the fall of that same year, I met Mike Capuder and Bill Piscitello, two guys who played on a badly managed team in a pretty stable league. Their club, the Tribe, was a member of the Chicago Men's Adult Baseball League (MABL) and it was quickly falling apart for lack of organization. We decided in short order that a merger of sorts would benefit us both. The Devils would get some badly needed players and entry into a better league for 1997, and the Tribe (at least those few players who defected) would get membership in a more organized club. The merger was a relative success and our first year in the MABL ended with a record of 5-12. More importantly, a few more talented players were added to the roster. Among them was Bob "Pepper" Berrones who came aboard that year and helped out with pitching and defense.

    For the following two seasons, 1998 and 99, we continued to compete in the MABL and while we failed to make the playoffs in either season, we continued to add talent and show steady signs of improvement. In '97, Keith Schuermann joined the team and has been our ace ever since. This was also the year of Bruce Tria and one of only two players I've ever actually "drafted," Joe Ogrodnik. The next year, what would turn out to be our last in the MABL, I held an open tryout at Windy City Fieldhouse and took on eight new players. Kevin Carlson, Doug Ferguson, Xavier Ramos, Derrick Staton, Brian Strub, Mike Svancarek and Dan Strom were at that tryout and helped the Devils achieve their best season record in team history, a misleading 6-14. Mike Lavelle, came out of nowhere. He showed up at one of our last pre-season practices and said, "Can I play?" I answered, "I don't know. Can you?" He could. He led the Devils in nearly every offensive category and made the league All Star team along with Schuermann and Terrutty.

    The highlight of 1999, however, was our first foray into Regional Tournament play. We rented three mini-vans and headed to Rochester, Minnesota for the Hiawatha Summer Slam. We managed to win all three games of triple-header to qualify for the final game. In the final, playing against the Twin City Pirates (who, coincidentally, we blanked in the first round, 5-0), we took a two run lead into the ninth inning. With two outs, an error and a homerun tied the game for the Pirates and we then lost in extra innings. A heart-breaker? You betcha? Did we hang our heads? Only long enough to pop open another Bud and we were headed back to Chicago with some great stories to tell (or not to tell, depending on how much trouble you got into).

    The year 2000 was the first for the Devils in the Skyscraper League, one of the premier amatuer leagues in the state.  The league was so premier that the Devils limped to a 5-16 regular season record.  Early pitching problems and a season-long slump were the main culprits but while the losing was hard, we gained another few key players and moved toward improving for future seasons in the league.  Among the additions to the roster were Lester Garrett, Jim Danko, Jason Gogo, Mark Zogbaum, Scott Schuster, Jim Austin, Pete Gibbons and Tom Spalla.  UIC stars Gene Rausch, Mike Lorenzo and Chuck Peters were added to lend some young blood.  The season culminated in our second trip out-of-state, this time to Memphis, Tennessee for the NABF Regional Tournament where we competed against some of the best teams in the mid-west during the day and mingled with some of the finest women in the world at night.

    The Devils are looking forward to their second season in the Skyscraper League and plan to add to the growing pool of talent in the off-season.  While a handful of committed players has turned into a team of good friends, the commitment to playing high-level baseball has grown as well.  

Trevor Przyuski

"There's no crying. There's no crying in baseball. Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pigshit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry? No. No. And do you know why? Because there's no crying in baseball."
Jimmy Dugan