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Dutch Elbers helped drive St. Paul to fastpitch greatness

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

Ben Maloney, left, Ed Mathias, and Dutch Elbers hold the 1963 ASA Northern Regional Tournament championship trophy.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Strong armed, with a lanky athletic build, Dries (Dutch) Elbers mostly likely could have stared at baseball, but fortunately for fastpitch softball, he never got the chance.

“My dad played baseball, but he steered me into softball,” said Elbers. “I have never played a game of baseball in my life.”

Elbers, who grew up in Steen in southwestern Minnesota, began playing fastpitch in the 4-H League in 1945 as a 15-year-old. It wasn’t long, though, that he graduated from the boys’ league into the Steen men’s league.

Steen might have been small in numbers with its 185 citizens, but they and the farm families surrounding the little village located 25 miles east of Sioux Falls, kept the six team-league healthy with numbers and talent.

“As kids, we wanted to get a uniform and play with the big boys,” Elbers said. Soon enough Elbers would be playing with the ‘big boys’ of fastpitch – worldwide.

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A Step Back In Time: St. Paul Stroh’s Gatsby’s Tournament features life in the fast land

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

BOB MOORE, left, and TOM RUBBELKE of the 1987 St. Paul Stroh’s Gatsby’s team as they prepare for the Stroh’s Gatsby’s Invitational, organized by manager Jim Rubbelke. Several of the nation’s top-ten ranked teams participated including Penn Corp, Sioux City, Iowa; Farm Tavern, Madison, Wisc.; Teleconnect, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and All-Car, Antigo, Wisc.

By Perry Coonce / Minnesota Sports Federation State Commissioner
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Aug. 2, 1987

ST. PAUL, Minn. – World class fastpitch talent will be on display today at St. Paul’s Dunning Complex for the Stroh’s Gatsby’s Invitational.

The quantity of men’s fastpitch teams in Minnesota has diminished in recent years, but the quality hasn’t, according to tournament organizer Jim Rubbelke.

“We have some of the finest players in the world in Minnesota and are only hurt by the lack of pitchers, and the fact that very few are being developed,” said Rubbelke.

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