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Minnesota Fastpitch History: When the ‘World Championship’ came to Parade Stadium

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

In the 1958 ASA Men’s Major Fastpitch National Championship at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis, TOM NICHOLS of Toledo, left, WILL BRADY, Miami, JOHN SPRING, Stratford, and ROY STEPHENSON, Long Island display their prowess as pitchers in the national championship. SPRING went on to pitch Stratford to the championship over Lake Charles, La. Minneapolis Tribune Photo By Paul Siegel

Minneapolis hosted the ASA Men’s Major National Championships at Parade Stadium in 1954 and 1958. Here’s some brief information about the teams and players who made the 1958 championship special in the state’s fastpitch history.

Cloquet upsets Farmington 2-1 on Three Hits
By AUGIE KARCHER / Minneapolis Tribune Sports Writer
Sep 16, 1958

MINNEAPOLIS – Northwest Paper of Cloquet, Minnesota’s ASA Northern Regional champion, shocked favored Farmington, New Mexico, 2-1, in one of the tightest games of the day.

BOBO JOHNSON set the Builders down on two hits, one of them a 250-foot home run by Gehrig Garrison in the first inning. The only other hit was in the sixth, but fine defensive work prevented what could have been the tying score.

Cloquet didn’t get a man on base until the fourth, which LES SALO opened with an infield hit. He was sacrificed to second and scored on JIM ARNTSON’S single to left. Arntson took second on an error and scored on a blooper to center by Dave Holmes.

Farmington…100 000 0—1 2 3
Cloquet………..000 200 x—2 3 1
Bill Lingle and M.T. Autry; Bobo Johnson and Herb Huard

***Cloquet was eventually eliminated by Stratford, Conn., 8-2, who went on to win the the championship over Lake Charles, La.***

“JUNK’ NETS ONE-HITTER

A drop pitch that “didn’t drop” cost CHUCK HAYS a no-hitter Tuesday when Minneapolis Soo Line nipped St. Louis 3-0 in the World Softball tournament. St. Louis shortstop Chuck Stiebel got the only hit – a sharp single to center in the fifth.

“I threw a lot of junk,” said Hays, “never have been a really fast pitcher.”

SOFTBALL WORLD TOURNAMENT FIRST-ROUND

Houston, Texas, 2, Cairo, Ga., 0
Stratford Conn., 2, Miami, Fla. 0
Seattle, Wash., 8, San Gabriel, Calif., 2
Long Island, N.Y., 3, Toledo, Ohio, 0
Washington, D.C., 6, Casper, Wyo. 0
Cloquet, Minn., 2, Farmington, N.M., 1
Lake Charles, La., 1, Montreal, 0
Aurora, Ill., 4, Clearwater, Fla., 0
Air Force 6, Washington, D.C., 0
Winnipeg 19, British Columbia 8

TODAY’S SCHEDULE / WORLD SOFTBALL

    PARADE ONE

Noon – San Gabriel (0-1) vs. Casper, Wyo. (0-1); 1:30 – Sacramento (0-1) vs Farmington, N.M. (0-1); 3 p.m. – Vancouver, Canada (0-1) vs. Washington D.C. (0-1); 7:30 p.m. – Houston (1-0) vs. Long Island (2-0); 9 p.m. – Stratford, Conn. (1-0) vs. Cloquet, Minn. (1-0).

    PARADE TWO

Noon – Minneapolis Soo Line (0-1) vs. St. Louis (0-1); 1:30 p.m. – Toledo (0-1) vs. Miami, Fla. (0-1); 3 p.m. – Cairo, Ga. (1-1) vs. Montreal (0-1); 7:30 p.m. – Lake Charles (2-0) vs. U.S. Air Force (1-0); Aurora, Ill. (1-0) vs. Seattle (1-0)

For the Olson’s and Duluth, a thriving time of men’s fastpitch

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

1988 ASA NATIONAL CHAMPION DULUTH STEWART TAYLOR PRINTING. Top from left: Dick Olson Manager, Jim Olson, Randy Hill, Mike Thomas, Brian Langeland, Corey Thomas, Paul Friesen, Brad Emanuel and Tom Olson. Bottom from left: Jerry Strange, Mike Morrissey, Bill Olson, Clay Kerr and Casey Frank. Team helper Mitch. Courtesy Photo

DULUTH, Minn. – Once upon a time a man could stand in the center of Minnesota and point to the east, west, north or south and as surely as the sun rises and sets, men’s fastpitch was being played in most cities and small towns of the state’s 87 counties.

That was the thriving times of the 1960s to 1980s.

Owatonna, St Paul, Minneapolis and Mankato? Booming. Winona and Rochester? Hot beds.

Scandia, Hastings, Red Wing, Lake Crystal, Wanamingo, St. James and Geneva? Teeming with teams, leagues and tournaments.

And up in the northern reaches of the state snuggled up to the western shore of Lake Superior, the game in Duluth was at its peak. That was back when Bill Olson started playing in 1973, barely a teenager.

“I started at 13 at Ordean Jr. High School,” said Olson, 56. “That was when they had fastpitch in the junior high schools. There were a lot of good teams in my era.”

Click to continue reading “For the Olson’s and Duluth, a thriving time of men’s fastpitch”

Hard throwing Stu Morrison inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
STUART MORRISON of Cloquet, Minn. pitched his way into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame by winning two state championships, one regional title and winning over 450 games with over 4,500 strikeouts in an 19 year career from 1963 to 1981. Courtesy Photo

STUART MORRISON of Cloquet, Minn. pitched his way into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame by winning two state championships, one regional title and winning over 450 games with over 4,500 strikeouts in an 19 year career from 1963 to 1981. Courtesy Photo

CLOQUET, Minn. – Softball backstops measure upwards of 20 feet high and wide. Even at those dimensions, corralling Stuart Morrison’s pitches often proved futile.

“When I first started pitching in 1963 there wasn’t a backstop in Minnesota that could hold me,” said Morrison with a laugh. “I didn’t know where the ball was going to go.”

Morrison started playing fastpitch as a sophomore in high school, only because he got cut from his high school baseball team. The Scanlon fire department invited him and several other young players to give fastpitch a try. Morrison did and was hooked.

    A PITCHER IS BORN

Although a good hitter, Morrison was intrigued by what he saw happening in the circle.

    “There was a good fastpitch league in Cloquet at the time,” he said. “I saw Craig Pollard pitching and I thought, ‘if he can do that, I’m going to give it a try.’”

Click to continue reading “Hard throwing Stu Morrison inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame”