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September 12, 2013

Clary completes 50th year as a baseball/softball player

With four high school state championships and countless youth state titles, Logansport has long been known as one of the best baseball towns in Indiana.

Steve Clary has a claim to fame that is a first in Logansport history, as he just completed his 50th year as a baseball/softball player this summer.

“It’s been 50 summers of never stopping the routine of playing ball,” Clary said. “It’s just been a constant.”

To be fair, most of those summers have been spent playing slow-pitch softball. But all the playing has still taken a toll on the 60-year-old, who started playing in the Logan youth leagues at the age of 10.

“The only thing I ever told myself is that if I didn’t think I could help the team I was playing for I’d quit,” Clary said. “I’d quit if I was unproductive.”

Clary was a shortstop since bell bottoms were in style. But five years ago he had to give in to lower back pain.

“After all those years I had to carry myself off one night with a twisted back,” he said.

Clary was not ready to throw in the towel yet. So he made the switch to pitcher, mostly out of need for his team that year, where he’s been ever since.

As for slow-pitch softball strategy as a pitcher, he said, “There is a little. I didn’t have anybody to teach me, to talk to me other than watching guys as a hitter or playing shortstop. No. 1, you don’t want to walk guys. That’s the worst thing you can do is make your defense wait pitch after pitch. I knew that as a pitcher that was my No. 1 goal.

“But on the flip side of that, if you’re too good at throwing strikes everyone can zone in. The only thing you figure out is you have to walk a guy now or then or at least throw some balls intentionally. If you know a guy is a first-pitch hitter throw him a ball. It’s not always easy in softball because the range to hit is so much bigger than baseball. But I’ve learned a backup curve or a curve and to move the ball around, and you have to field your position.”

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