Marlin Boom’s passion and dedication earns passage into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame

Written by Bob on December 15th, 2016

BOOM FASTPITCH FAMILY: Marlin Boom, center, surrounded by his family, was inducted into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame on Oct. 29, 2016. Courtesy Photo.

ELLSWORTH, Minn. – Fastpitch success has embraced brothers Chad and B.J. Boom in bountiful ways. They’ve played throughout the United States and traveled to foreign lands playing the game they love.

Chad was selected All-World three-times in the ISC World Tournament. And in 2015, B.J. was inducted into the North American Fastpich Association Hall of Fame. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But if you ask the brothers how this was all possible, they would answer in one word: “Dad”

Dad would be Marlin Boom, whose passion for fastpitch matches anyone who ever stepped on a softball field.

And he passed that passion on to his sons.

“I can remember as a little boy Dad hitting me and Chad thousands of fly balls and grounders at Ellsworth ballpark,” said B.J., now 38 who started playing at 7. “I can remember all the time and effort he put in to being as good a player as he was. He was a visual example for me.”

Both boys were good high school athletes – starring in football, basketball, baseball and track and field. But when summer rolled around Dad had the boys playing fastpitch.

Marlin played in the Border League – that includes the southwest Minnesota towns of Ellsworth, Lester, Hardwick, Steen, Premier Bank of Rock Rapids (Iowa), Hills and Beaver Creek; all under 600 population.

And the league had a rule it enforced to spur growth and ensure its survival:

“If a (men’s) team wanted to play in the league, the rule was that you had to have a fastpitch team for the (boys’ league),” said Marlin Boom. “If you didn’t you couldn’t play. It brought new blood into our league.”

With his Dad’s, encouragement, teaching, and hours and hours of practice, Chad went on to play for the USA National Team, and for such ISC powerhouses as the Travelers of Nebraska, Larry Miller Toyota of Salt Lake City, and Junker’s Bar and Grill of No. Mankato, Minn.

    THE PATRIARCH’S INFLUENCE

Like his brother, Chad credits his Dad for making it all possible.

“Dad was the person that gave me the passion, drive, work ethic and competitiveness for the game,” said Chad. “He was always there for me and my brother.”

But Marlin did far more than inspire and coach his sons. He was quite the ball player himself, playing upwards of 150 games a year, winning a Masters (45-over) national championship, and a state championship that included being named all-tournament at the coltish age of 44.

Like his sons, he started playing young.

“I started playing when I was 14 with a bunch of farm boys,” said Boom. “We played for the fun of it. We played league games almost every night and tournaments on the weekends.”

    GIVING BACK TO FASTPITCH

Boom, now 71, retired from the sport in 2001. He played in six decades beginning in 1959. Boom also served as president of the Border League for 15 years, and he still continues to umpire fastpitch in Minnesota and South Dakota.

Travis Folkens has taken over as president of the league. A post he has held for 10 years. He credits Boom as a driving force in keeping the league and the sport alive in southwestern Minnesota.

Folkens says that Boom was a great leader, a fierce competitor, outstanding hitter and coach; and an umpire that volunteers his time to officiate many league games.

MARLIN BOOM umpires in the Border League as well as for men’s and girls’ games in Minnesota and South Dakota. Courtesy Photo

“Marlin has meant a great deal to the Border League,” said Folkens. “Marlin umpires in our league tourneys as well as working home games for a few different teams in our league. I know that teams (mine included) would be in a very tight spot if Marlin didn’t continue to graciously give of his time to umpire and keep the game alive locally.”

    FAMILY SHARES THE HONOR

When it came time for nominating worthy players and contributors for the 2016 Minnesota Sports Federation Hall of Fame, Folkens nominated Boom. His approval quickly followed.

Boom takes his place with many of the Minnesota’s greatest players, and those honored for their meritorious service. The 2016 fastpitch class includes Craig Brown, Darrell Goring, Stuart Morrison, Dan Nessler, David Gilbertson, Howie Schaber, Doug Sorenson, and Everett Wright (along with several others inducted in the slowpitch class).

“It was a complete shock when I was told,” Boom said. “It didn’t see it coming. I feel honored to be included.”

Boom is quick to point out that the honor is to be shared with his sons and wife Mary. For nearly his entire 56-year career, Mary and the boys went with him to league games and tournaments. Fastpitch truly was a family affair for the Booms.

And when the boys grew older and split off on to their own teams, Marlin and Mary often were at their ball games.

When Chad played for the 2004 USA National Team in the World Championship in New Zealand, Marlin went with. When Chad played in the Pan American Games in Dominican Republic, Mary went along.

But whether big or small-time fastpitch, the Boom family did it together.

“It was always great family fun together with the other player’s (families),” said Mary. “We would (arrange) our vacations to be at the ball diamonds for district and state tournaments. It’s truly been a wonderful time. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

And on Oct. 29, the family had one more wonderful time together at the Monterey Ballroom in Owatonna for the Hall of Fame ceremonies.

MARLIN BOOM at the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame ceremony, Oct. 29 at the Monterey Ballroom in Owatonna, Minn. Courtesy Photo

Proud of Dad? You bet.

“When I got the call that my dad was getting inducted into the softball hall of fame I was very excited for him,” Chad Boom said. “I know this meant a lot to him and our family, since softball is in all of our veins. My dad dedicated most of his life to the game of fastpitch softball.

“I am so proud of my dad for being such a positive influence and caring person, and a great ball player. This honor that he received is well deserved.”

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Richard Q says:

    Marlin. As a voting member of the Hall of Fame Committee in Minnesota this was an easy vote. Congratulations.
    Richard Quigley

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