Someone to know: Greg Alder, Boise River Dogs

Written by Bob on April 30th, 2010

BOISE, IDAHO – The younger players today bemoan their fate. Oh, how some of them wish they could have played in the heyday of men’s fastpitch. They hear the stories from the older veterans.

Every city prospered with an abundance of teams and leagues. Every town – large or small – had at least one team. And intense, often times bitter rivalries between neighboring towns drew hundreds of fans to league and tournament games.

Travel? Maybe a few miles cross-town. Maybe a few miles down the road. And tournaments? Every weekend some team somewhere close by hosted a tourney.

Greg Alder of Boise counts himself lucky. He grew up and played in the glory days of men’s fastpitch – the 1960s through the late 1980s.

His grandfather played. His dad played. His brother played. He played. And now his son, Shane, plays.

“In his day, Greg was one of the best pitchers,” said Ryan Meister, a Boise fastpitch player and manager. “Shane is an excellent pitcher, player, and hitter. Both of them are dedicated to the game.”

Let’s meet Greg Alder, who at the age of 57 hasn’t lost his zest for the sport.

How old were you when you got started? I was 15 and playing baseball. My dad needed a couple of players for his team. I went out and played and preferred fastpitch to hardball. I (continued) to play high school baseball, but gave up (American) Legion baseball to play fastpitch.

What’s the lineage of Alder fastpitch? My grandpa, Orin, played. My dad, Larry, played. My brother Larry (junior) played. I play and my son, Shane, plays. “My dad was an outfielder and played local ball. He passed away last month. My brother Larry was a premier caliber ball player. He made the All-Norpak League, but had to retire in 2002 because of shoulder problems.

Shane is 31 and he started pitching at 18. Last year he was an All-World pitcher in the NAFA A Major World Series.

When did you start pitching? When I was 17 my dad started his own team. I’ll start my 40th year this year. When I was 19, my high school friend, Mike Cunningham, started his own team. We were all buddies from Boise High School.

How did that go? Everybody told us we wouldn’t win. But we ended up competing with teams like the Guanella Brothers (Rohnert Park, Calif.) and Pay and Pak (Seattle), Portland and Yakima.

Eventually, you started playing with the Boise Metros. What was that like? We played in the Norwest League. It was the number one league. Darren Zack, Mike Piechnik, Jimmy Moore, and Terry Bell pitched in the league. (Randy) Burnside and (Tim) Wahl played in it too. It was an excellent league. (Zack, Piechnik, Moore, Burnside, and Wahl are ISC Hall of Fame members.)

You and others are trying to revive fastpitch in Boise with younger players. How is that going? A lot of them say they love it. The problem is keeping them together. The best results come from putting friends together on a team. The players coming from high school and college baseball love it. Some are disappointed at first facing the better pitching. But overall they like it.

Any success stories? Nick Harris is 23 and started when he was 20. He played baseball at The College of Idaho. He’s a shortstop and travels with the River Dogs (Boise team that Greg manages and Shane pitches for). He was All-World at NAFA. His baseball skills transferred to fastpitch real well. He’s caught on to the hitting and has become a clutch hitter and good glove.

Tell us about the River Dogs: We’ve been in existence for eight years. We’re a self-sponsored travel team. We travel to Portland, Yakima, Seattle, Utah…

I’ve heard tell you’re a pretty good player yourself? I think I became a pretty good (right-handed) pitcher and a pretty fair hitter. Then they went to the DH (designated hitter). Some of the teams in Norwest League tried to get me and my brother Larry. It would have destroyed our team (Boise Metros). When you take one or two of the best players it kills the team. It’s not healthy for the sport.

What became of the Metros? We had two major teams left in Boise in the early 1980s. We combined to form the Metros. We folded in 2002. I was the only one left playing after 2002.

What else fills your fastpitch time? In 2009 I started an age 50-over team called “The Fog.” There are a lot of former Metros on the team. And we have Leo Estes at shortstop. He played for Guanella (Brothers).

For more great fastpitch news, visit these websites:
Al’s Fastball
Fastpitch West
International Softball Congress
North American Fastpitch Association
2010 ISC World Tournament, Midland, Mich.

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. […] Someone to know: Greg Alder, Boise River Dogs | OttoInFocus […]

  2. ryan meister says:

    bob keep these articals coming about boise fastpitch .we need all the advertising we can get you are doing a great job.

  3. sean oneill says:

    As a long time fastpitch player (19 years), I can honestly say that no one I have ever met has had the drive and energy to keep fastpitch alive in Boise. Greg has singlehandly resurrected Boise’s fastpitch scene with with an unending energy and devotion to fastpitch. Keep it going Greg and keep the articles coming about Boise.

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