Senior softball players take the sport to a higher level, extending mutual respect and friendship across team lines. It warms the heart to see the camaraderie that develops not only within teams, but also among teams. That positive force is what drives the sport and makes it a very special experience for everyone it touches.
In upcoming issues I will be spotlighting local senior softball players. This month, I had a chance to sit down with local player Jerry Simon, age 80. We discussed the PH Senior softball league and his love for the game.
MS: Tell me about the senior softball league?
JS: It’s a really good league run by good people. Each player has to be 50 years or older to play. It’s a growing league with over 55 players from different backgrounds and beliefs working on a common goal that can only be accomplished through working together.
MS: Do you see any changes in players after joining the league?
JS: Yes. The PH 70-Years and Older league is a wonderful deal. It opens up a new world for guys. Many of the players haven’t played in 30 years but after a few swings, you can see some decent ball players. They may not run as fast or hit as far but they can still play.
MS: Jerry, talk a little about your own background.
JS: I was raised in Philadelphia and went to Olny High School. After high school I was signed as a pitcher by the New York Yankees and played minor league ball in the late 40s and early 50s. The Yankees paid me $1,500 signing bonus, which I gave to my mother. I met my wife while serving in the Korean War (Army artillery -2nd Lt). We started our family and now enjoy 3 grandchildren.
MS: What would your teammates say about you?
JS: That I am a decent guy and good ballplayer. I play for several teams in the area and love the camaraderie and competitive spirit shared by my teammates.
As the senior leagues proliferated, so have national tournaments around the country, providing a showcase for the top talent. Simon and some other California players teamed up to form a super senior tournament team. “I’ve been fortunate enough to go to the World Series – our team has won several National Championships and the World Series,” he said with a smile. “It’s a joy. The rings are in a drawer.”
A little wear and tear and surgical intervention doesn’t sideline these seniors. Some team members step up to the plate with knee and hip replacements.
Years melt away when the umpire yells, “Play ball!”
New players welcome. Sign ups for Softball 50 and Up league: 2/1- 4/1, $40 includes P.H. Senior Center fees. Games: Thurs.- 9:30am & batting practice: Tues.- 8:30am @ P.H Park. Contact Tony@ 937-7073 or firstname.lastname@example.org