Men’s senior softball league
What would be your best guess as to when the Dallas Area Senior Softball Association began? If you surmised 1980, you could be right. As best as can be determined, senior softball in the Dallas area began in the spring of 1980. The “league” or competition then consisted of just two teams – one from Grand Prairie and the other from Irving. These two teams played an informal schedule of home and home games during their initial season.
Cooperation with senior citizens centers and the Parks and Recreation Department of Grand Prairie led to more formal competition. Games then were played during the daytime. Teams were composed of retired or semi-retired players, ages fifty-five years and older, who formed teams to play during the mornings. The league was organized to provide friendly competition, good fellowship and some physical fitness activities. In 1982, Mesquite formed a team and joined in the competition with Grand Prairie and Irving. The three teams played each other, taking turns playing on each others home field.
In 1982, word was out about senior softball and seniors and retirees from several new cities in the Metroplex formed teams and joined the three existing cities. This led to more formalization and an organized league. Representatives from the various teams held meetings at the Senior Citizens Center in Irving to draw up playing rules and schedules. However, there was no official organization until 1986, when the constitution and by-laws of the newly-named “Metroplex Senior Softball Association (MSSA)” were written and adopted. The league now had a formal name, laws and regulations. A Board of Directors for the league was elected and an Executive Committee formed, consisting of a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer as well as members-at-large. Together, they guided the new league forward.
The league continued to prosper and grow as teams were formed from the Richardson-Garland area, Ft. Worth, Arlington and the Oak Cliff-Duncanville areas. Beginning as a day league, the MSSA in 1987 organized a night league that spring and summer. This enabled men, who were fifty-five years and older, and who were still working during the day, with an opportunity to participate. Each team was allowed to have no more than three players who were between the ages of 50 and 55.
As the league expanded and developed, age and physical ability differences among the
players became evident. Thus, an “A” division for those players who had stronger running, throwing, hitting and fielding skills was set up. Correspondingly, a “B” division league was formed at the same time for those players with average softball skills who would be unable to compete with the stronger “A” divisions teams.
By 1991, both the “A” and “B” divisions had five teams. Additionally, there was a new division created – the “C” division – which consisted of six teams and generally included less able players. All three divisions played day games and had home and home schedules. Also that year, a night league was formed consisting of eleven teams with players age 55 and up. Games were played at Corsair Park in Grand Prairie using two fields provided to the Association at no cost. In addition, six teams comprised of players in the 50 to 55 age group played night ball at Fritz Park in Irving.
In 1992, because of the differences in abilities of league players, a strict group age limit on teams was implemented for the night leagues. They were set up thusly: 50 through 54, 55 through 59, 60 through 64 and 65 and up. This caused changes in the make-up of several teams and created the formation of some new teams in various age brackets. The competition subsequently became more evenly balanced. All teams played in Grand Prairie on Monday nights. On Thursday nights, the teams from Dallas County played at Huffines Park in Richardson, while the Tarrant County teams played at Waggoner Park in Grand Prairie.
1993 was a pivotal year for the league. Because of widespread play in different cities, the league heads decided that the association and leagues needed to be split. A new league of night time teams located east of Irving became the new Dallas Area Senior Softball Association (your current league). At the same time, the night league teams, playing under the auspices of the MSSA, fielded 15 teams and played their games at Corsair Park in Grand Prairie on both Monday and Thursday nights. While these changes were being implemented, the day league teams were combined and directed by the Metroplex Senior Softball Day League Association.
At the beginning, the Dallas Area Senior Softball Association played their games at Huffines Park in Richardson. League officers at the outset were President: Charles Allen, Vice-President: Fred Maccheo and Treasurer: Don Blanchard. They were assisted by directors Jim Park, A. T. Ilseng, Jeff Jeffers, Skip Liebensperger, Dominick Greco, Gary Pope, Miller Ricker, Charlie Thompson and Gerald Jensen. Over the years, the league played games at different locations depending on the availability of fields – but all in Richardson. Most of the years, games were played at Huffines Park, but for three years the league played at Texas Instruments fields. More recently, the league moved to Breckenridge Park and in 2008 and 2009, games were played at Heights Park, all under the auspices of the Richardson Parks and Recreation Department.