Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame

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Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame missing some great players

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Jolstad.Leroy.3web The great LeRoy Jolstad was inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame in 2008.

YUCAIPA, Calif. – I searched three times and still couldn’t find Walt Nelson or Tom Niederkorn’s name anywhere on the hallowed list.

A list that includes some of the greatest men’s players and contributors in the history of Minnesota men’s fastpitch softball.

The Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame.

The 2014 Hall of Fame induction takes place Nov. 1 at the Rochester International Event Center.

But Nelson’s accomplishments in the pitching circle, or Niederkorn’s greatness in the field won’t be recognized at the event. To me, that’s a shame.

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Minnesota loses fastpitch legend Leroy Jolstad

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Leroy Jolstad shown in a mid-1990s photo, was one of Minnesota’s greatest fastpitch softball pitchers, spanning a career that lasted five decades. Jolstad passed away on Sunday, Aug. 25 at the age of 64. Happy Chef media guide contributed photo

MARSHALL, MINN – Minnesota has a celebrated history of producing great men’s fastpitch softball pitchers. There’s Al DeWall and Dutch Elbers; Johnny Vollmer and Dale Root; Ron “BoBo” Johnson and Don Olson.

But perhaps the greatest of all was Leroy Jolstad.

Jolstad stood tall on the rubber, an imposing figure at 6-foot-5. He threw hard and his explosive drop ball – his signature pitch – was among the best in the sport.

“Leroy never had a great change up or even a great rise ball,” said Dan Nessler, a teammate of Jolstad’s on Mankato Happy Chef for several years in the 1980s and ‘90s. “He did however have a great drop ball and could spot it where he wanted. People knew what they were getting most of the time and he still got them out. I didn’t see all of (Minnesota’s best pitchers) throw, but from what I saw, Leroy is at the top of the list locally.”

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Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame to induct 15 of state’s greatest contributors

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — The 27th Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Saturday evening, November 3 at the River’s Edge Convention Center (St. Cloud Civic Center) in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Hall of Fame biennually recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of softball.

Softball is the largest team participant sport in Minnesota and the nation with over 6,000 teams participating in the local program.

A total of 15 individuals in the player, manager, umpire, sponsor, promoter, administrator, organizer, volunteer or media categories have been selected for induction this year. Included are:

    Inductee Category Softball Hometown
    Anna Anderson, Player, Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Gene Bartz, Player, Edina/Richfield/Minnetonka
    Paula Bergren*, Volunteer/Organizer/Promoter, Duluth
    Dianne Dingman, Player, Anoka
    Paul Harrington, Volunteer/Organizer/Promoter, Farmington
    Bud Heidgerken, Volunteer/Organizer/Promoter, Freeport
    Dick Hudson*, Player, New Ulm
    Dennis Johnson, Volunteer/Organizer/Promoter, St. James
    Dennis Karp*, Volunteer/Organizer/Promoter/Umpire, Carlton County
    Ed Kingsley*, Volunteer/Organizer/Promoter, Princeton
    Denny Malarkey, Player, Roseville
    Bonnie Muzik, Administrator, Brainerd
    Barb Northway, Administrator, Minnesota
    Barb Olson, Player, Duluth/Proctor
    Mark Rieber, Umpire, Mankato
    Robert “Sam” Werner, Player, Minneapolis

    * = Inducted posthumously

2010’s banquet was attended by over 300 people and an equal or greater number is expected this year.

The cost of the banquet is $40.00. Tickets may be obtained using the Ticket Request Form or they may be ordered online. Deadline for tickets is Friday, October 26.

Nearby Hotels
Le St. Germain Suite Hotel
Best Western Plus/Kelly Inn

For further information please contact:

Tami Morrison

Ball family supports Dad’s goal in West St. Paul Tournament

Friday, July 27th, 2012

“Wayne’s tournament is great. It’s the best. He knows how to run a tournament fantastically.” – Dave Vandenbosch, manager, Gallagher’s Bar

WEST ST. PAUL, MN – Forty-two down and eight to go.

For 42 years, 73-year-old Wayne Ball has kept the West St. Paul Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament rolling along. Year-after-year without a miss.

Though he’s at an age when most fastpitch folks have long since retired, Ball has no plans on deserting his baby. His creation. His passion. Besides, he’s set a goal that he’s determined to meet.

“I have to go at least eight more years,” he said. “I’ve got to get to 50 years.”

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Reconnecting with “Brownie”

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

FLORIDA – I met Craig Brown in the fall of 1973, while we were both freshmen at Mankato State University (now Minnesota State). We were in our early 20s and fastpitch fanatics. Pitching was our passion.

But Craig was much more talented than I.

His left-handed risers, drops and his great change-up far exceeded my much slower “junk pitches” from the right side. Craig went on to become one of the greatest pitchers in Minnesota fastpitch history. I challenge anyone to say he wasn’t.

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Minnesota loses one of its great fastpitch pitchers

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

By Dennis Johnson / ISC Commissioner Emeritus

(Stan Noren, one of the all-time great Minnesota ASA Class A pitchers in men’s fastpitch softball passed away on May 13 from cancer. Johnson wrote this narrative about Noren’s pitching accomplishments in his 25-year career for his Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame induction.)

ST. JAMES, MN – Stan Noren started pitching in 1954 at the age of 14 for Sveadahl. He pitched 11 years for the small village in southwestern Minnesota and carved out an outstanding record.

Stan was drafted by the St. James VFW team and threw three no-hitters, including one in the ASA Class A state tournament in 1964. In 1965 he pitched for Godahl and was drafted again by the VFW for the ASA state tournament. He lost to eventual state champion, Hasting Loesch’s Bar, which scored 8 unearned runs off Stan.

In 1966, Noren joined full time with the VFW’s pitching staff, and beat the always tough Vernon Center twice in league playoffs’ finals by 2-1 scores in each game. These two games drew great crowds as Noren bested one of Minnesota’s all-time great ASA Class A pitchers in Wayne Hohenstein. Noren finished the season with an 18-8 record.

Noren followed his inaugural season with the VFW by having a breakout year in 1967 with a 32-11 record. “His team only gave him five runs in nine of his loses,” said Dennis Johnson, former ISC State Commissioner and leader in St. James men’s fastpitch softball.

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