The Kenosha Legend Grows: Big Al

From Kingfish First Pitch to Rotary Tournament Director


I’m not going to pretend I know the back story of Big Al because I truly don’t know much about it.  The world was one big predictable negotiation through daily life in Kenosha, WI….and then one day, Big Al was there.   That day happened many years ago and it would seem that all that ever happens in the world of Big Al is that the legend and popularity continue to grow.  He has become an institution in Kenosha, WI.  He has become “must meet” royalty in a city that has produced some pretty major personalities and characters on the national scene.  The long and short of it is this…Big Al is vintage Kenosha.

On Monday July 8th the Kingfish played Traverse City in a Northwood’s game as historic Simmons Field and before the game, as a few folks walked to the mound to deliver the ceremonial first pitch, there was Big Al getting ready to toe the rubber and deliver a strike.  After a huge ovation from the crowd, of which probably 40% or better actually know the dude, Big Al fired one in to the catcher.  Now the ball sailed a little bit on him and when I asked him after the game about the accuracy of his first pitch, he calmly stated, “I was just working the upper half of the strike zone”.  One could expect no other answer from Big Al.

Fast forward to Rotary Tournament weekend.  The question is NOT will you see and speak to Big Al, the question is how many times will you see and speak to Big Al.  He went from being a dude that was willing to help around the beer sales area to Tournament Director by just being Big Al.  Props to Jim Fulmer and Tom Anderson and the whole bunch at The Rotary for “getting” what Big Al brings to the table and helping forge his legend in Kenosha history.  He is simply as recognizable and as important to the success of the Rotary Tournament as any player or any game.

And now BA (thought we’d try just his initials once) is a fixture with the guys that hang out at Sheridan Lanes.  That softball/bowling group of most excellent Kenoshans have a very loud very loyal member of their brother and sisterhood.  When I asked BA if he was more of a Rotary man or a Sheridan Lanes man, he replied, “both, people know me from softball but I’m known for my 600 series in bowling, my highest is a 658”.   Can you imagine partying with Big Al the night he rolls a 658?  Those stories must literally write themselves.

So go say hi to Big Al.  Wherever and whenever you see him, go say hey.  He will undoubtedly be most welcoming and cordial.  Big Al is what is great about Kenosha.  As you get older and you reflect on your time on this earth and the people that, by choice or by destiny, you have shared any time with, count yourself as fortunate if you were at all a witness to the rise to local celebrity status for the one and only, Big Al.