By Deb Silverthorn
Temple Shalom’s Brotherhood Softball Shalom League will complete the cycle of its 45th year beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at its awards breakfast at Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road in Dallas.
“We started as members of Temple Shalom’s Brotherhood. Now we’re a brotherhood of our community,” said Bob Weinfeld, who, with Jack Borenstein, Murray London, Les Taub, the late Steve Chown and the late Seymour Kaplan, founded the league in 1975.
“We started with six teams. Now there are 20 in the spring, with 240 players, and 16 in the fall with 192,” said Weinfeld. The league’s 26 games are played at Plano’s Heritage Yards. “I’m proud of the league and proud of the bonds it has built,” Weinfeld added.
“Seventy-five percent of our league plays year-round, and from scouting and the draft to banquet, it is year-round,” said Wayne Casper, whose son Kyle has played, younger son Logan waiting from the sidelines to age-in. This year the league expanded the leadership team, and Casper — in his 10th year as commissioner — welcomed Vice-chairs Matt Roth and Andrew Williams. “Our retention rate is high and we’re fathers and sons, two generations with a third on the horizon. This league is special.”
Player registration for 2020 is open until Jan. 19, with rosters filled with men from around the city, ages 18 to “very senior,” said Weinfeld, 93. Retired from playing at 69, Weinfeld manages the Pirates, his team since the Shalom League began.
Awards will be given to championship teams — the Mariners, coached by John Miller (Spring) and the Tin Cups, coached by Scott Greenberg (Fall), division winners Larry Silverman’s Rangers and Andrew Williams’ Diamondbacks (Spring) and David Buhrow’s Bats and Scott Greenberg’s Tin Cups (Fall).
The seasons’ Hall of Fame inductees, MVPs, Rookies of the Year, “Mr. Shalom” — the league’s top teammate, the Susan Tooch–most supportive fan award and the recipient of the Phyllis Unell Temple Shalom Brotherhood and Softball League Scholarship will be announced.
The celebration welcomes Tom Grieve, who began his career with the Washington Senators in 1966. He played for the Cardinals and Mets, but mostly with the Senators, who later became the Texas Rangers. After retiring, Grieve was the Rangers’ director of group sales, assistant director and director of player development. Known as “Mr. Ranger,” he is readying to begin his 26th year as the Rangers’ television analyst.
“I’m honored to return to this really incredible group,” said Grieve, who, like most, can’t say “no” to Weinfeld, this his “many-eth” awards visit. “My career has been too good to be true and to tell stories about what I love is a joy.
“The game doesn’t change. People rooting for their teams, enjoying great ballparks and making memories,” said Grieve. “For the Shalom League, it’s the same. I doubt there’s another league with more passion, professionalism and ability to seep into its community.”
Featured during the breakfast will be a screening of second-generation player and documentarian Randy Kramen’s latest segment of his documentary, “Temple Shalom Softball,” with interviews and re-enactment clips from the league’s third through seventh years.
“I started the documentary in 2014, inspired by my dad’s love of the game. It’s a tribute to those for whom Sunday morning softball is a way of life,” said Kramen, whose father Martin and brother Marc have been a part of the league for many years.
Regardless of win or lose, or who’s on first, the Shalom Softball League is about respect, fun, and a gratifying sense of comradeship.
“I’ve loved this game since I was 6 years old. I’ve been with these Pirates for 45 years and my goal is to hit 50. When I make that, heck, I’ll extend another 12,” said Weinfeld. “We’re all out there having fun and playing the game most of us have loved all of our lives.”
To RSVP ($5 for the public, free for league participants and Shalom Brotherhood members) event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-440-2542. For league details, visit shalomleague.org and to support the documentary, email email@example.com.
By Deb Silverthorn