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Half-Century Softball Club Celebrates 80 Seasons of Play

From Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, the players share an enthusiasm and history of a truly unique softball league.

History continued and a new tradition began on Friday, Oct 19, as the Half-Century Softball Club Opened its 80th season of play.

The club has been in existence since 1933. Although the club itself is based on St. Petersburg, it attracts players from throughout the Tampa Bay area, from Manatee to Pasco counties.

That is because this stalwart league truly is a unique organization, with a history and foundation that goes beyond a typical slow-pitch recreational softball league. 

No! this isn’t Kids and Kubs. Those guys are older more mature and play a more relaxed game of softball.

Here you find younger fellows, ages 49-74. It is a modified fast pitch game (no wind-up) with pitches that cover the 46-ft. distance from the pitcher’s rubber to the batter with plenty of speed and craftiness. 

The pitchers curve it, knuckle it, inside, outside and drop the ball at the batter in a constant battle to keep the hitter off  balance.

It is a fast-paced game when compared to slow-pitch. North Shore Park, the home of the “club,” hosts a four team competitive battle for the club championship. 

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, beginning at 10:00 and 11:30 am, two teams square off over a sixty game schedule stretching from late October into early April. 

The first and second half champions square off  in a best two- of-three playoff for the club championship.

The group of men who started the  organization had little idea that it would last for 80 years. An eight Board of Directors is ever dedicated to preserving the organization through its constitution, by laws and playing rules. It is serious competition with careful attention to the details of budget, competitive balance and the image of the club.

Change does have its place within the 80-year old organization. Opening day this year found the club retiring the jersey numbers of three Senior Softball Hall of Fame.

The trio has amassed 67 years as members of the club while compiling record performances not only in the Half-Century Softball Club, but several other tournaments and leagues throughout the country.

Hal Olver, Larry McCurdy, and Darwin Shiflett aren’t really retiring from the Half-Century Club (HCC) this year; they will wear their current jersey numbers until they “hang it up.” 

Their jersey replicas hang outside the home team dugout during games. Come see us play. You’ll enjoy a fast paced game of competitive softball.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeanne Kilmer Chadee November 15, 2012 at 03:32 PM
WHERE DO THESE GUYS PLAY?????????????
Jeffrey Rosenfield November 15, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Jeanne, According to their website, they play at North Shore Park near the Vinoy Hotel in downtown St. Pete. Here is a link for you: http://www.stpetehalfcentury.com/ Thanks!
Linda Hersey November 15, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Thanks, Jeff. They're quire an enthusiastic group of players, too.
Jon Reynolds November 15, 2012 at 05:45 PM
North Shore Park in St Petersburg. 901 North Shore Blvd at the foot of 8th Avenue NE Directly across from the Municipal Pool.
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Ron Donto January 22, 2013 at 12:00 AM
These guys play a high level of softball. The modified pitching (50-60 mph) creates more of a defensive game vs. what is often seen in slow pitch softball. They play with one home plate, sliding, and 10 players. Many over 50 softball leagues have taken the prementioned aspects of the game out.

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