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Ralph, who is employed as a field auditor by Data Services, said he puts the same effort into his work that he puts into umpiring.
In his spare time, Ralph likes to work on his pride and joy, a spectra red 1969 Corvette. He is a member of the Suburban Corvette Club and an "honorary member" of the Edina Cruisers' 35 Over team; a team that sometimes drives vintage cars to the games Wednesday nights at Van Valkenburg Park.
he couldn be the head coach because of his other commitments to Anoka, he was there for practices and told girls in the most encouraging way, how to improve stances, running the base techniques and much more. I was supposed Nike Air Max Uptempo Low to be there for the interview and work kept me late, so i missed it. So for whoever reads this and may take note, I just want whomever to know that my dad had a huge part in my softball game and the other girls on my team!
"It was intense," said Ralph. "Sometimes, there was prize money at stake."
"The things you have to be good at are calling balls and strikes, making fair and foul calls and making out and safe calls. Of course, it helps if you study the rules. If you Nike Air Uptempo Blue
likes of Timothy O'Toole's, George's in the Park and the 908 Club.
When fastpitch players at Parade No. 1 noticed Ralph hustling after balls outside the fence and across Dunwoody Boulevard, they realized how much he loved the game. It wasn't long before the McNamara brothers, Bob and Pinky, asked him to be the batboy for the Soo Line Railroad team.
Hello, this is Jennifer writing in, I am Bob daughter, the one mentioned in the article slightly! I just also want to mention what an influence he had on my fastpitch softball team for the 5 years that I played for the city of Edina. He was one of the favorites as a batting coach, and favorite cheerleader for my fellow players. Although Nike Air More Uptempo White Grey Black
"I started out as a shortstop, and there were some years when I played more than 150 games. At first, I was in there for my glove. Later, it was for my bat."
"First of all, I lived near the park for so many years," he said. "There is no better place to umpire than Edina because of the beautiful fields, the lights, the plentiful parking, the concessions stand, the clean restrooms and the people who play here. There is nothing I don't like about working in Edina."
Ralph, 65, currently umpires Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings in the Edina Park Rec softball leagues at Van Valkenburg Park. He has also umpired at some of the area's major invitationals, such as the Firemen's Tournament in Bloomington.
A couple years later, Ralph began operating the scoreboard at Parade No. 1. He hung numbers by hand each inning, while also updating the hits and errors.
Surprisingly, he also found time to manage and play for the Anoka Tornadoes 35 Over baseball team, that won eight state championships, two in Class A and six more in Class AA.
Ralph has put thousands of hours into playing and umpiring softball, but he was never too busy for his family. He coached his daughter Jennifer in softball and volleyball.
"I got my first big break when Art Krueger asked me to play for his team at a tournament in Howard Lake," said Ralph. "I was 17 at the time, and my first time at bat my knees were shaking. I hit a double, and things got better and better from there.
"Bill told me, 'No one loves softball more than you do you should be umpiring,'" said Ralph. "So I said I would give it a try."
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Ralph kept all of his softball and baseball uniforms in the car and hoped he remembered to wear the right one on a given night.
do those things well, you will be a really good umpire. Pitchers who can throw strikes always make the game easier."
If he had one of those weapons in his hands, he is confident he could still smack the ball all over the park.
33 years as a player
When his reflexes began to slow, he mentioned to his friend, Bill Bowers, that he might like to try umpiring.
Every so often, players will argue calls. That's part of the game.
Once he was old enough to play softball, Ralph decided he would play forever, and he almost did. There were years when he would compete five nights a week, and his playing career eventually spanned 33 years. Before he was done playing, he began to make the transition to umpiring, and now he has umpired for 33 years.
"Anytime there's a really close play, someone is going to think he got shafted," said Ralph. "Some nights, nobody says boo. Other nights there are a lot of close calls. If a coach or player has an issue, I will work with them. All of the games are important to the participants, so they are just as important to me. If it's a big game, a championship game, I really have to be on my toes.
There are several reasons he enjoys working in Edina.
So what's the secret to Ralph's longevity?
The best team Ralph ever played for was Bunny's in the early 1970s. In that era, all of the popular bars in the suburbs sponsored teams, and Bunny's battled the Nike Air Uptempo Chicago Bulls
Looking back on all of his seasons in the sun, Ralph wouldn't change much. Like most ex softball jocks, he wishes he could still play the game, but Parkinson's Disease has affected his motor skills and reflexes.
The only time he gets the urge to play again is when he picks up one of the new aluminum bats following a player's at bat.
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