Minnesota men’s fast pitch

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The 1950s in Minnesota Men’s fastpitch softball, and remembering pitcher Red Anderson

Monday, January 7th, 2019

Pitcher RED ANDERSON is pictured in the back row, second from the left. Photo Minneapolis Star / Sept. 1, 1939

Softball’s ‘Old Man River’ Still Rolling

By MURRAY OLDERMAN
Minneapolis Star Staff Writer
July 13, 1951

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – 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.

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A Step Back In Time: John Ernster, Unknown to celebrity in 5 years

Monday, January 16th, 2017

GREEN TERRACE ASA ALL-AMERICANS, from left, pitcher John Ernster; third baseman Doug Sauer; catcher Loren Benz, and first baseman Dick Teubner.

Green Terrace of Winona became the first Minnesota team to play in the inaugural ASA Class A Men’s Fastpitch National Tournament in 1975, taking second place with an 8-2 record. In 1988, Stewart Taylor of Duluth won the national title followed by Happy Chef of Mankato in 1995.

By BRUCE CLOSWAY / Sports Writer
Winona Daily News
(originally printed Sept. 3, 1975)

WINONA, Minn. – If anyone is considering doing a biographical study of a sports personality from in or around Winona, John Ernster has certainly qualified himself as a worthy subject.

And if choosing an appropriate title becomes a problem, how about, “You’ve Come A Long Way, John,” or “From Obscurity to National Acclaim In Five-Short Years.”

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Bob Thurmes Relives Memories of Loesch’s Bar and Its Roster of Fastpitch Stars

Friday, January 6th, 2017

BOB THURMES circa 1970s when Thurmes played for The King and His Court that featured fabled pitcher Eddie Feigner, who barnstomed throughout the world for 55 years, before he died Feb. 9, 2007. Thurmes played for the four-man team in 1971 and again 1974-’75. Bob Thurmes / Courtesy Photo

HASTINGS, Minn. – Bob Thurmes’ fastpitch travels have taken him far during a career that started as a teenager in the early 1960s and lasted until 1980. He played for such legendary teams as the Clearwater, Florida, Bombers – 10-time Amateur Softball Association national champions.

And he played for the fabled King and His Court, one of the great barnstorming softball teams that featured the incomparable pitcher Eddie Feigner, who much like the Harlam Globetrotters thrilled fans with his skill and showmanship that included pitching behind his back, through his legs and even blindfolded.

No doubt, Thurmes once pitched and played for some great fastpitch teams.

But Thurmes, who grew up in Hastings, also pitched for Loesch’s Bar, the hometown team that won two Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Class A state championships in 1964 and ’65, along with second, third and fourth place finishes during the ball club’s reign from the early 1960s into the 1970s, when the team disbanded.

NELSON AND LOESCH’S PUT HASTINGS ON FASTPITCH MAP

Loesch’s featured primarily local talent. However, the team came into prominence when talented pitcher, Walt Nelson, moved to Hastings from Ohio in 1962.

Nelson’s prowess soon made an impact in the Minnesota state fastpitch tournament.

The powerful right-hander led the Hastings American Legion to runner-up in the 1962 state tournament, and in 1964 and 1965, he hurled Loesch’s Bar to back-to-back titles. Thurmes got a close-up look at Nelson in his formative years.

“Walt Nelson was one of my fastpitch heroes,” said Thurmes. “I grew up across the street from Wilson Park and I would watch Loesch’s Bar play for years and beat the best teams from the Twin Cities (such as) Whitaker Buick and Al DeWall, 7-Up, and Peter’s Meats from Eau Claire.”

Thurmes briefly teamed-up with Nelson to form one of the stronger pitching staffs in the state: a young, up-and-coming star, along with a proven veteran in his prime.

STAR STUDDED ROSTER

“I was a senior in high school when they took a look at me,” Thurmes said. “I was young and the first tournament I pitched for them in was in Rochester. Walt and I were the pitchers and in my first game, I went up against last year’s champs and we won 2-1 in 15 innings. The Amy brothers (Don and Dave) had at least six double plays. They were really great players.”

Thurmes also got the nod when Loesch’s had to face Mankato, rated in the top-three of Minnesota elite teams with Dale Root in the circle, one of the up and coming young pitchers in the Midwest.

“(The manager) asked Walt about me pitching and Walt said, ‘let the kid pitch,’” Thurmes said. “I went five innings and it was 0-0, but Root hit a two-run home run off me.”

Thurmes says Loesch’s was loaded with talented ball players back in the 1960s, including the likes catcher Kurt Johnson, Don and Dave Amy, Kurt Thalburg, Jim Beattie, Pat Orman, Larry McNamara, Gene Hageman, Tom Swanson and Tom Niederkorn.

“Niederkorn was a great player and ended up with Whitaker Buick,” Thurmes said, “and Swanson, a shortstop, was one of the best.”

35th Annual Chopper’s Hollywood Tournament

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

WATERTOWN, Minn. – Chopper’s Hollywood Men’s Fastpitch Tournament is one of the longest running men’s fastpitch tournaments in Minnesota.

This weekend, July 12-13, marks the 35th consecutive year the popular tournament will be held at the Hollywood Sports Complex near Watertown.

Eight teams are competing in two pools, with a single elimination format on Sunday to crown a champion.

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