MSBL League Profile 2021: Mid-South Adult Baseball League (Memphis)
Submitted by Paul Tingley, Mid-South League President
The Memphis MSBL started in 1996 for 30-over players. It had developed into an 18+ and 28+ format by 2005 and eventually just a 28+ division with about six teams. Glenn Mayfield was running the Memphis MSBL and started a fall wood bat league for over 40-year-old players. Glenn was running both leagues until he eventually handed the younger league over to another President, though it dissolved a few years later.
The Mid-South 40+ started out with two teams as a pick-up format in 2008 and the next year we had three teams with five spring and seven fall games. The Mid-South Adult Baseball League was officially founded in 2009 and in 2010 started full summer play and in 2011 had four teams. We peaked at seven teams in 2014 but currently have six teams in the 40+ division and are trying to form a 55+ division this year with enough players for three teams.
We did play a full season in 2020 but started about a month later than normal. We still completed a full regular season with six teams and a double-elimination playoff. We were able to get started in mid-April this year and hope to conclude the post-season by the end of September.
I started playing in the Memphis MSBL in 2003 with the 28+ Pirates. I played with them until 2012 and then migrated fully to the Mid South 40+ wood bat league. I’ve been playing in various adult baseball leagues since 1990 and in 1998 I moved back to Mobile and formed and managed a team in the Mobile MSBL. In 2017 I took over as the manager for the River Rats.
I became President of the League in 2021, as our past president, Eddie Byrd took over as the treasurer of our league and as the manager of the White Sox. Our League owes a tremendous debt to Glenn Mayfield and Eddie for getting the league going and keeping it running for all these years.
My biggest challenge in taking over was trying to continue to manage my team, the River Rats, in addition to keeping things running on the League level. I have a “staff” of three players who work very hard to update the schedule, manage the website and find fields for us to play on, which is the league’s biggest challenge now and most likely in the future. Bart Sparks, Eric Smith, and Dave Emerling comprise the “staff” and Antonio Jones manages the scheduling of the umpires.
You asked me what gives me the greatest satisfaction and I will say it’s when a player thanks me for the work we are doing.
I see the league hopefully growing into two solid age divisions, the 40+ and 55+. Right now, we don’t see the interest in a younger division but if we had more fields that would be a possibility.
The success of the league is due to the efforts of all those guys mentioned above, plus the 100 or so guys we have in the league who make the time to play a kid’s game at our advanced age. I am still able to play in the 55+ and manage and play in the 40+ division.
The Memphis MSBL has a long history of sending teams to National MSBL Tournaments. For example, the Mid-South Blues, Memphis Brewers, Warriors, Pirates, White Sox, and River Rats have competed in numerous regional and National MSBL tournaments.
Our league gives older adults a chance to remain active playing the game we love. Most of us played baseball at some point in our lives and this gives us the chance to become part of a team, make friends and continue to play competitively. I have played in several leagues over the years and I like the structure and support we get from being affiliated with the MSBL. From insurance, rules, and even equipment it is nice to have them as a resource and be a part of a truly national organization.
In conclusion, I think any adult baseball player can testify that without family support this is a very tough activity from a time standpoint. Our games go two and a half hours and there is usually some post-game socializing so the time away from the family is tough on a lot of us. Having family members who understand the “me time” that playing entails makes life much easier. I love to see Dads getting the chance to show their kids that they still ‘have it’ out there on the field. As a manager, I realize that this is a game and that family and work rightfully take precedence over playing baseball.