Players, coaches, parents, supporters, elected officials and Clark the Cub celebrate Omega Delta's opening day at Hoyne Park on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

Kids Play, Community Celebrates as Baseball Returns to Hoyne Park

Published May 8, 2022

The Omega Delta Youth Baseball & Softball League returned to the McKinley Park neighborhood’s Hoyne Park on Saturday, April 30, 2022, to kick off the season with a parade, ceremony and the first games of the season.

 
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Hundreds of players and parents joined the league’s all-volunteer organizers and coaches to welcome the start of play, joined by local elected and park officials, Chicago Cubs owners Tom and Laura Ricketts, and mascot Clark the Cub.

 
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Occasional rain could not dampen spirits as players, coaches, families and supporters paraded from the Target at 1940 W. 33rd St., Chicago, to Hoyne Park a few blocks away at 3417 S. Hamilton Ave.

Ceremonies included dedication of the start of the season; pledges for best behavior from players, coaches and parents; and throwing out the first baseballs by Laura Ricketts and elected officials.

 
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Even though a little damp, Hoyne Park looked great thanks to major infrastructure upgrades supported by the Chicago Cubs Diamond Project. This includes a new scoreboard, first used in the 2021 season, and upgrades to the baseball field, fixing drainage issues, resurfacing the diamond and adding new sod along the sidelines.

Proud Baseball Field

"We make investments for you," Laura Ricketts said. "We want you to have a field that a professional player would be proud to play on."

Omega Delta founder and McKinley Park neighborhood resident Danny Gaichas led the ceremony and welcomed players from 28 teams ranging from 4-year-old T-ballers to high school girls softball players.

Better Every Year

The Omega Delta season runs through the summer, with most games at Hoyne Park and at nearby McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Road, Chicago, A fall season and winter baseball camps provide baseball practice year-round.

 
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The league is 100 percent volunteer-run and locally organized, now attracting hundreds of residents from the McKinley Park neighborhood and beyond. It has steadily grown since replacing the Ralph E. Bermele Little League, which called Hoyne Park home for over 60 years before closing down in 2003.

12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas, who has a child playing in Omega Delta and shared his remarks at the opening day ceremony, said that he's watched the league steadily grow. "Every year this gets better," Cardenas said.

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