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A Ball Player For Life

Sept. 1, 2021

John Carlson

With the upcoming 2022 season on the horizon, John Carlson, 87, of Minneapolis, will have played an incredible 70 straight years of softball – beginning with fast-pitch and then moving on to slow-pitch.

Starting in 1952 at the age of 17, Carlson began playing in Minneapolis fast-pitch leagues, where he pitched and played numerous positions. He played fast-pitch until 1994, when the City of Minneapolis discontinued its fast-pitch league.

Carlson never missed out on playing softball, even while serving in the Army.

At the age of 55 in 1989, Carlson joined the first Senior Softball league in Minnesota. “I have been participating in seven age groups: 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 and now 85 with Jimmy's Gold,” said Carlson.

Additionally, Carlson has participated in the National Senior Olympic Games, playing in St Louis (1987), Syracuse (1991), Baton Rouge (1993), San Antonio (1995) and Minneapolis (2015). For his play, Carlson earned numerous All-Tournament and MVP honors.

In SSUSA, Carlson last played with Jimmy’s MN Legends 80 in 2017. He’s also previously played with Minnesota Legends 75, and Scan Air Filter 70, among others.

Carlson currently plays in the West Metro Senior League in the summer; and in the winter months, he moves indoors for games at the Academy of Holy Angels StarDome in Richfield, MN.

For his efforts, Carlson was inducted into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame in 2014.

“My plan is to play at least until I am 90,” said Carlson. “Part of the enjoyment I get from playing is the camaraderie. To all of you younger players, keep playing!”

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