Baseball coach's car stolen with team's gear inside

July 14, 2011 5:09:29 PM PDT
A vehicle full of Little League equipment was stolen from Chicago's Southwest Side Thursday night.

The car belongs to Charles Daniels, coach of the Chicago Hornets baseball team. The 1992 Oldsmobile station wagon was stolen near 66th and Sacramento in Chicago's Marquette Park neighborhood.

The Hornets are undefeated, but now they could be forced to forfeit a game because the team doesn't have its gear, which was in the car.

"It had all my equipment in it, all my baseball stuff, the shoes for the kids, the uniforms for the kids, their gloves. Everything was in the back of the station wagon," said Coach Daniels.

"It hurt my heart 'cause I know how much the kids like playing baseball, so it really hurt me to hear about it," said Marcus Smith, parent.

Daniels' station wagon was parked next to his home in Marquette Park. The car is critical because the coach says it's the team's transportation.

"The car was the source, the life source of the program," said Daniels. "I pick the kids up and bring them to the park, and the ones who don't have cars and their parents are not there, I take them back home."

Daniels says he's been coaching for 44 years. Each team and snapshot tells a story of success and championships -- even the big leagues. Daniels says he coached Larry Murray who ended up playing for the Oakland A's.

Coaching is what he does. But it's more than a game, it's a mission.

"We need male adult leadership. And we need somebody who likes to mentor the kids and keep the kids going. That's what it means to me and that's why I stay with it so long," said Daniels.

That's also why parents want those responsible to step forward.

"If they have a heart, they will return the things that they stole. It's sad that people would even do this, steal from little kids," said Smith.

The stolen car is a maroon Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon with license plate G-3-9-8-5-9-6. Anyone with information should call Chicago police.

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