A Step Back In Time…Softball’s ‘Old Man River’ Still Rolling

Written by Bob on July 30th, 2017

“Then I grab the microphone and say, ‘St. Paul is one place I’m never gonna lose a game.’ And in five years they never did beat me.” – Red Anderson

By MURRAY OLDERMAN
Minneapolis Star Staff Writer
July 13, 1951

MINNEAPOLIS – When it comes to softball, Red Anderson’s one guy who can afford to scoff.

“You shoulda seen the way we did it in the good old days.”

He not only did it in the “good old days,” but he’s doing it now. Folks wandering out around Parade Grounds 1 tonight can catch 42-year-old Red still fooling batters as he serves them up for the Sathers against the Teamsters in Park National League Softball.

That’s the same carrot-top whose softball goes back 27 years…when four and five thousand fans used to flock to the Parade Grounds to see him strut his stuff…when the baseball Millers and Ted Williams attracted an estimated 15,000 to the Parade Grounds for a softball duel against Anderson and gang.

Clyde McCullough’s catching for Kansas City then,” recalls Red, “and before the game he comes to me and says, “whatever you do, I want you to be sure and strike out that big basher.’

“Up steps Williams, and the first one goes by him so fast he’s still waiting for the pitch. The next one I change up, and his bat’s around before the pitch even leaves my hand. I give him the same dose on the third pitch and down he goes swinging. I got him begging.

“Man, those baseball players they’re my meat. I can handle any American or National leaguer even now.”

“You know how fans are supposed to be wolves,” Red recalls. “And they were really red hot over in St. Paul. When they get on me one day, I stop everything, run over to the grandstand and from my back pocket take a fistful of bones and throw it to them wolves.

“Then I grab the microphone and say, ‘St. Paul is one place I’m never gonna lose a game.’ And in five years they never did beat me.”

Red’s more moderate now…the family influence. He even married a softball pitcher, the former Harriet Van Hoof. They have three children – Gail, 12, Richard, 11, and Penny, 8 – and are awaiting the arrival of twins momentarily.

He’s still a spoofer. But a change of pace, instead of a fast ball, is his chief trick in trade these days.

“How those kids bite for that change up,” he laughs, “and I couldn’t even break a pane of glass.”

Thursday night Soo Line’s Jack Behrendt threw a no-hitter in Dayton’s 2-0 Commercial Red Softball League.

Also, last night at Parade Grounds 1, Red Owl (grocery store) beat Our Own 4-1, with Red Owl’s Don Borsch allowing only three hits.

3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Cam Lind says:

    There were some legendary characters back then.

  2. Slim says:

    Interesting back story to this. Ted Williams hit one about 500 ft in his next AB off this guy though, ha. The story is in Leigh Monteville’s, Ted Williams: An American Hero book. Great book, would highly recommend it. But Ted loved Minnesota, use to off season there in fact before he found the Florida Keys.

  3. Bob says:

    Thanks Slim, appreciate the input. I’ll check out William’s book.

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