|Founded||Founded in 1972 by Eddie S. and Nick G.|
2000 or later;
|Colors||Black and White|
|Symbols||Shield, Playboy Bunny, and Cane|
Many stories have floated around about the origin of the Twelfth Street Players as being linked to the Cicero Esquires and Berwyn Kings etc…Although it is true many Esquires and BKs flipped to Players in later years, those organizations were not part of the foundation of the Twelfth Street Players.
The Twelfth Street Players were born out of the Arch Dukes organization as the original members were Pee Wee members of the Dukes aged approximately 13 years old. The two founders were Eddie S and Nick G who were born in 1959 making them 13 years old in 1972 when this happened. I am not sure exactly why Eddie and Nick decided to break from the Dukes to start their own organization but it may have had to do with lifestyle choices as the original Players were true greasers that dressed the part and even listened to oldies from the 50s and 60s as they drank beers. Eddie and Nick put the Players together alongside Tony C, Russel and Steve and others.
In 1972 when the Twelfth Street Players were first born they were not well-known in the Cicero community mainly because of their young age. The Noble Knights were formed the same year and also did not get recognition right as they were about the same age. The boys lived mainly at 13th and 60th which drew them to hang out at Roosevelt (12th Street) and Austin Ave at the Big Top Restaurant that used to be located at 6001 Roosevelt Rd. This restaurant was the original Twelfth Street Player hangout. The Players also hung out at the old Church’s Chicken that was located at Roosevelt (12th Street) and 61st. The Players also hung out at Freddie’s at 16th and 60th which is still in business to this day located at 1600 S 61st Ave.
The symbol of the bunny came from the Playboy bunny logo. The rest of the symbols of a top hat, cane and gloves come from being gentlemen. The original Players had many fine attributes and were decent characters which made the gentleman part of their history come to be.
The Twelfth Street Players inherited the same enemy as the Arch Dukes as they battled in wild battles with their fists against the Ridgeway Lords from Little Village. The Ridgeway Lords always invaded Cicero all the time angering many gangs created in Cicero for a few generations, the Players would adopt this rivalry. The Players also despised the Cicero Freaks. The original Players did not like the Freaks because they used lots of drugs and were hippies, the Players did not like hippies. Players also fought the Gaylords that used to come hang out from the city as well.
In the year 1976 the Players flipped many Cicero Esquires and Berwyn Kings into Players which allowed Players to expand into the nearby suburb of Berwyn along Roosevelt Road (12th Street) by the Burger King at Roosevelt (12th) and Oak Park Ave. Now the Twelfth Street Players became very well known in 1976 as they dominated a major portion of Roosevelt.
In the year 1980, the first Mexican families began moving into Cicero in the Grant Works area. These Mexican families came from the nearby Little Village neighborhood in the city if Chicago which bordered the suburb of Cicero. Even though Player territory was a distance away from Grant Works the Players still attended the same schools as these newly arrived Mexican youths. Among the first Mexican families came members of the Two Sixs, Two Two Boys and Imperial Gangsters, especially the Two Two Boys. Just like their allies the Noble Knight the Twelfth Street Players were going at it hard with these three gangs which would only grow in intensity year by year in the early 80s. During this same time the Players became more popular in Berwyn and opened a chapter at 37th and East Ave near Freedom Park.
In the year 1981, the Noble Knights, Twelfth Street Players and Latin Kings came together to join the alliance the Latin Kings were part of known as the “People” alliance because of mutual hatreds of common enemies. The Two Sixs, Two Two Boys and Imperial Gangsters were part of the rival Folk alliance so the Twelfth Street Players and Noble Knights joined People at the same time as Folk and People was being spread all over the streets in 1981.
In 1987, the Players opened up more turf as they spread into the suburbs of Lagrange, Lyons and Brookfield. Since all of these suburbs were connected, the Players worked with the Latin Kings to viciously battle the Two Two Boys, Two Six, Black Gangster Disciples and Simon City Royals that dominate these suburbs and were allies with each other. In Countryside, the Twelfth Street Players were the only People Nation gang battling against BGDs and Two Two Boys.
In the year 1990 Countryside and Lagrange sets closed down as police presence was stepped up and many members joined the military.
In 1990, Twelfth Street Players accomplished something no suburb made gang ever accomplished successfully in the history of Chicago itself. The Twelfth Street Players managed to open turf in the Clearing neighborhood on Chicago’s south west side right next to Midway Airport. Two Six and Satan Disciples landed there at the same time which gave many youths in the area grief; therefore, the Twelfth Street Players was an option for youths fed up with Folk gangs. The Players then became very close with the newly arrived south side Insane Popes that migrated there as well. Both gangs were primarily white, allied with Latin Kings and wore the same colors and they were both People and there for the same cause.
In the year 1992, the Latin Counts arrived in Cicero and were accepted by the Twelfth Street Players. The Latin Counts were with the People alliance which helped relations but were enemies of the Latin Kings; however, the Players stayed out of that conflict. The Satan Disciples were forming during the same year; therefore, both gangs had in common a hate toward SDs. The Players partied and hung out with the Counts as close allies which made the Players make a decision to allow the Counts to hang out in Warren Park at 58th Court and 16th. Over the next two years the Counts made that park their own and began to completely claim ownership as they recruited aggressively evolving into one of the larger gangs in Cicero. This was an act of disrespect to the Players as Counts pushed their way deeper into Player turf expanding an area known to the Counts as the “Red Zone.” In 1994 the Players could no longer stand the disrespect and a bloody war broke out that was so intense and violent is caused lots of police attention causing members of both gangs to face incarceration. This is the story of how Players and Counts went to war. After this happened the Players regretted ever allowing the Counts into the park.
On December 14, 1995 a double homicide made the news that the Almighty Popes gunned down two 13 year old girls at 62nd and Melvina because the girls were hanging out with Ridgeway Lords. The media attention was huge on this story because it involved two white girls getting killed in a mostly white community in a neighborhood where several Chicago police officers resided.
After the shooting Chicago police cracked down hard on any gang that looked like they were Popes. If they heard the name Pope and/or saw the black and white colors they closed in hard. Insane Popes were the biggest victim of this police sweep because they wore the black and white colors and carry the last name “Pope.” The Players were a victim of the sweep too because they wore the black and white and were at 62nd and Melvina. There was also guilt by association because Players and Insane Popes hung out.
In 1998 charges were handed out to the top leaders of the Almighty Popes and the gang dissolved in the city after that. It was not enough for the CPD as they took down the majority of Insane Pope territory as well. The Twelfth Street Players lost all of their turf and had to leave the city entirely because police weakened their numbers so badly they could no longer fight their rivals effectively and still be a profitable organization. The Players then abandoned their Clearing sections but only for a few years. This is a process gangs go through to avoid extinction, they lay low for months or a few years and rivals tend to think they have won and attempt to take the old turf. This is when the Players suddenly re-emerged and overwhelmed their enemies.
I usually do not put any 21st century history in my histories but I must mention the Players came roaring back in the year 2000 and reclaimed a lot of territory on 63rd street once again in Clearing which is another major accomplishment for any gang again because no gang reopens several sections in the city, usually once you are gone, that is it but the Players made it happen.
Please send in old school pics. 1970s pics will be especially appreciated! Please send any pre 2000 pics!
Sections of the Twelfth Street Players past and present
Clearing neighborhood Established 1990-2010s
Sections of Clearing
64th & Nottingham (Players Alley) 1990-2010s
62nd & Melvina (Hale Park) 90s
63rd & Normandy
63rd from Central Ave to Major 90s, 2000s
62nd & Nagle
South Chicago neighborhood Established 2007-2017
Sections of South Chicago
89th & Exchange
87th & Commercial
Berwyn Established 1972 Roosevelt & Lombard (Bunnyside), 37th & East Ave, 12th & Oak Park Ave Established 1976
Cicero Established 1972 Roosevelt to 14th, 61st Court to Austin (Headquarters, The Island), 18th & 61st, 16th & 60th
Lyons 45th & Gage