Rusty Carlson

Rusty Carlson began playing organized softball when he was fifteen. He would continue to play for the next twenty-two years in many leagues and tournaments, with the majority being played in Cicero, and at Kelly and Reece Parks. Besides playing, he also umpired for the ASA and USSSA for over twenty years. He umpired the Hawthorne “A” Classic and the Forest Park “No Gloves Nationals” for more than ten years, calling balls and strikes during the tournament games and for the championship games. He was the softball director for the Clyde Park leagues from 1985 to 1995 where he organized and directed nine men’s and three women’s divisions. The men’s divisions featured teams from Major to DD leagues; the women’s division consisted of A through C leagues, with eight to ten teams in each division. He also organized a boys 18-and-over division. The Major division was won by such legendary teams as the 45s, Jynx, Lettuce, Touch, and the Whips. The Super A league featured such teams as Bridgeport Crush, the Rockers, Stickmen, Safari Tigers, and other great teams. Eventually Major league games were played at Cicero and Forest Parks, with some of the games being played on local television at Forest Park. He also hosted and organized the twenty-four team ASA Women’s National tournament in 1988 in Cicero, won by the Bidayos. Clyde Park also hosted many USSSA and ASA tournaments and qualifying rounds. Clyde Park District had the reputation for hosting outstanding 16-inch softball games every night of the week. While the playing conditions were not always the best, often they were the only park playing during heavy rains due to the determination of park officials, players and coaches.