Skip to content

Do you have questions about your vision health? The AARP Eye Center has answers.

 

 

Kids and Kubs Play Ball!

This Florida-based, co-ed softball club has a strictly enforced age restriction of 75, meaning players under 75 need not apply

A batter at home plate during a Kids and Kubs softball game

photo by ROB MOORMAN

Aspiring rookies wanting to join the Kids and Kubs softball club must be able to "catch and field a batted softball, to throw overhand from one base to the next, and to run around the bases in 23 seconds or less."


Three times a week from November to April, four softball teams averaging 15 players each gather for a doubleheader at the North Shore Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Shortstop Gaspar “Pee Wee” Diiulis, who joined the team in 2011, says that back in the 1970s, he and his family vacationed in St. Pete from their Massachusetts home. “We used to watch the Kids and Kubs play, and here I am now doing it myself!” he says. Proudly cheering Pee Wee on from the stands is his granddaughter Sarah Detore. “My grandpa at 80 is more active now than when he was in his 40s,” she observes.


A pitcher at a Kids and Kubs softball game

Photo by Rob Moorman

A regulation Kids and Kubs game is seven innings. Sliding is not allowed.


Since the club’s inception in 1931, some half-million fans have seen the team in action.

In the club’s early days, baseball legends, including Babe Ruth and Casey Stengel, would stop by during breaks from spring training and several even umpired games.

But Kids and Kubs wasn’t always a softball club. In 1930, local resident Evelyn Barton Rittenhouse founded a quilting club as “the proper sport for oldsters.” After a few quilting parties, the members complained that the events “were pretty dull stuff for a person with so much life.” Someone suggested they play softball, and “a group of the more robust ones” went on to form the Three-Quarter-Century Softball Club, later renamed Kids and Kubs.

Women were not a part of the club until Ethel Lehmann stepped into the batter’s box in 2004. Lehmann says she’s “still enjoying every minute” of the game she has played and loved since she was a young girl.

Don Osborn, who hung up his cleats after eight years, now maintains the club’s database. Kids and Kubs is a fixture in “city activities such as parades, annual games with City Hall members and other ball clubs in the area,” he says.

It was a parade that introduced club secretary Ed Asay, nicknamed “Third-Base Ed,” to Kids and Kubs. “I was 65 and I knew that I couldn’t just walk onto the field when I turned 75, so I started playing softball with another club,” he recalls. “I saw the players well up in age playing ball, and I wanted to emulate them.”


Four Kids and Kubs softball club teammates (including one woman)

Photo by ROB MOORMAN

In 2017, the team had 71 members, including two women. “We are a bunch of ‘good old boys’ — and girls! — playing softball for fun and for the benefit of friends and tourists to St. Pete,” says Third-Base Ed Asay. “We are part of something really great: playing for the granddaddy of all senior softball clubs.”


This article is an excerpt from the "Inspire Community Engagement" chapter of the AARP book Where We Live: Communities for All Ages — 100+ Inspiring Examples From America’s Community Leaders. Download or order your free copy.

Article by Amy Lennard Goehner  | Book published June 2018 


Stay Informed!

If you don't yet subscribe to the free AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter — which is where we announce news and new resources — sign-up now. The publication is weekly and award-winning. You can unsubscribe at any time. 

 

AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter