After returning home late in the 1960s after serving a 14-month tour in Vietnam, Logansport resident Don Lombardi started playing softball at Riverside Park.
He began playing to have something to do and as a way to get some exercise.
Fast-forward 45 years and Lombardi is still involved. Though his playing days ended long ago he is still involved both locally and at the state level.
His dedication to the sport recently got Lombardi honored at the state level. On March 15 he was inducted to the Indiana ASA Softball Hall of Fame at a banquet in Bloomington.
“It was really a nice evening and an honor to be recognized,” Lombardi said.
Lombardi actually just played a couple seasons for Elliott Distributors and the Jaycees and was an assistant coach with a Babe Ruth team at the same time. The current league director at the time was Jim Bender and Lombardi remembers that it was Bender that got him back into the league.
“I was pretty much done with softball before Bender said something to me about becoming an umpire. I told him that I had no experience doing that but he insisted that I’d be fine because I had played and I knew the game,” he said. “So I got my license and my first home plate assignment was a semistate tournament in 1970. I’ve been at it ever since though. I don’t do as many games as I once did, but I’m sure I’ll keep doing it as long as the legs hold up.”
He began his umpiring career in 1970 and has been involved ever since that time. Once he got comfortable being an umpire it wasn’t uncommon for Lombardi to do over 200 games annually. It didn’t take long for the state to recognize his abilities on the diamond and over the years he has worked numerous state tournaments and three national tournaments.