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updated: 7/18/2014 5:11 PM

Moving Picture: 80-year-old softball player going strong

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  • Video: Moving Picture: Senior player

  • Chris Argianas, 80, of Woodridge drives a single to the outfield during a Naperville Men's Senior Softball League game at Gartner Park.

       Chris Argianas, 80, of Woodridge drives a single to the outfield during a Naperville Men's Senior Softball League game at Gartner Park.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Chris Argianas, left, jokes with George Pappas, one of the original players who started the Naperville Men's Senior Softball League in 1997.

       Chris Argianas, left, jokes with George Pappas, one of the original players who started the Naperville Men's Senior Softball League in 1997.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Chris Argianas keeps his glove low to scoop a throw at first base

       Chris Argianas keeps his glove low to scoop a throw at first base
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • While a teammate looks over the line of bats, Chris Argianas makes his way to the field.

       While a teammate looks over the line of bats, Chris Argianas makes his way to the field.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Argianas rounds third and heads for home during a recent game in Naperville.

       Argianas rounds third and heads for home during a recent game in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • With severe thunderstorms threatening the area, a Naperville Men's Senior Softball League game is canceled at Gartner Park. Games are played Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

       With severe thunderstorms threatening the area, a Naperville Men's Senior Softball League game is canceled at Gartner Park. Games are played Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Chris Argianas, 80. has played for the Naperville Men's Senior Softball League for the past nine years.

       Chris Argianas, 80. has played for the Naperville Men's Senior Softball League for the past nine years.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • "When we are out here playing," Chris Argianas says, "every day is a good day."

       "When we are out here playing," Chris Argianas says, "every day is a good day."
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

You don't need a baseball diamond carved from an Iowa cornfield to find your own Field of Dreams.

Just ask 80-year-old Chris Argianas, who can still drive the ball to the outfield, hustle around the bases and make some nifty scoops while playing first base in his senior softball league.

Is this heaven? No. It's Naperville.

"At my age," Argianas says, "every day you are out here playing ball is a good day."

He can't say enough about the Naperville Men's Senior Softball League and the teammates he's played 12-inch fastpitch softball with for the past nine years.

"There is not a bad egg in the bunch," he says. "Everybody that comes out here loves to play softball. If we could play four days a week, that's what we would do."

The league, sponsored by Naperville Park District, features about 40 guys -- many retired -- who range in age from their late 50s to their 70s. The two-hour games are played Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from April until October at Gartner Park along 75th Street.

Argianas, a native of Woodridge, spent 42 years working for AT&T as a cable engineer.

"We engineered central offices for their main switches for telephone equipment," he says.

Now, though, he's less interested in phone lines and more interested in what happens between the foul lines.

"I play with good ballplayers and they inspire you to play harder," he says. "When we come out here to play ball, it's good exercise. Guys like George Pappas, who plays in Florida, and others who play in Joliet are all outstanding ballplayers and fun to be around."

Argianas says baseball long has been part of his life.

"When I was in the service, I played All-Army fastpitch and we went to the All-Army tournament and finished in second place," he says. "I had never played fastpitch softball, but I played hardball in junior college and I played softball in the suburbs and I sure enjoyed it. When you are 19 years old, there's a lot of things you can do."

Turns out there's a lot you can do when you're 80, too. All it takes is a bat, a ball and some guys who want to do more than just have a catch.

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