MSBL World Series Team Profile: Arkansas Diamonds, managed by John Godfrey and Brian Carroll

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications 

I am sure tired of seeing these guys!  I say that with extreme affection and my tongue firmly entrenched in cheek.  I have had the unfortunate experience of being roughly the same age as John Godfrey and his band of merry Diamonds from Arkansas so it seems we always play them.  More often than not we are heading to the nightclub to shake off our defeat while they are headed to the motel for a good night’s sleep to get ready for the playoffs.

“We started coming to the World Series in the second year they held it and competed as an over-30 team, though we were somewhat older,” explained 68-year-old manager and co-originator John Godfrey.  “We are now in the 65-over division and hoping to remain competitive.  Brian Carroll and I have always worked together to keep us coming.  We seem to always be in the thick of the hunt but can’t quite boast rings for every finger yet.  We’ve fallen off the last couple of years but still have fun.”

The Arkansas Diamonds started off as the Central Arkansas MSBL and changed to the Diamonds around 1995.  Over all of those years they have also competed in, and won, the Father and Son division.

“I was able to pitch back in the day and in 2004 or 2005 with my son in the Father and Son division I was the winning pitcher in the championship game.  It was a combined no-hitter and it was also my second victory of the week.  We won as Central Arkansas in only our second year at the World Series, but this one was special because it was with my son.  I’ll never forget it.”

The Diamonds won the 60-over Central Division championship in 2014, which was the cherry on top of many years of being ever so close.

“I can’t remember how many times we have been in the finals and couldn’t quite get over the top.  Maybe seven or eight times.  In 2014 I had some arm issues so I didn’t throw in pool play and didn’t plan on throwing at all but you know how it goes down there.  We ran out of pitching so I started the championship game and threw six innings.  When I walked the leadoff batter in the seventh, I knew I had to get out of there.  But we held on and got our ring!”

This year’s team is made up many of the same players from back in the day.  The quest for the ring is always on their minds but with age comes wisdom.

“We have needed to drop down for a while and reality has finally set in.  It’s no fun to play the best of the best and get crushed.  That’s no fun for either team.  We always wanted to play the best competition and have for all of these years.  But we are more optimistic being in the 65-Cactus division.  We’ll compete.  We have eight players on this year’s team that played in our first year so it will be a great time regardless.”

The 65-over divisions remain one of the most popular divisions in all of the World Series divisions.  As you can see below, that division is packed with quality teams.  The Diamonds will have to earn every victory!

John has missed only one year of the World Series.

“I want to emphasize the longevity of the Diamonds,” John further explained.  “It is because of the nucleus of the guys who have always wanted to come back.  Without Brian Carroll not taking the time, we probably would have folded five or six years ago.  Brian is the glue that keeps everyone together.  Brian is doing almost everything this year because I have so much on my plate.  I am still trying to find a way to attend!”

I asked John what prompted him to attend in the first place.

I was maybe 34 at the time and was never a softball guy and still loved baseball.  I still had some abilities, to a degree.  I was coaching high school and legion so I was still involved in the game.  The new league starting up in Arkansas sounded great and the World Series idea also grew on us.  We all said ‘we’ll try it one time just to see.’  Well, we know how that ended up!”

What are some of the special moments in Diamond’s history?

“We have gone to the Las Vegas Kickoff Classic multiple times and also three times to Puerto Rico.  MSBL used to have a spring tournament in Phoenix called the Cactus Classic for a few years and we won that once, I think back in 2004.

We have played in the early days at the Fall Classic in Florida because they had a 46-over division, which fit our demographics better at the time.  We played in Dallas at Sam’s (Kayea) tournament and also in Nashville.  But one of the biggest thrills was playing the Silver Bullets in front of over 5,000 people.”


“The Silver Bullets were an all-girl professional baseball team coached by Phil and Joe Niekro.  The league folded long ago, as you know, but we played at Arkansas Traveler’s Field, which is in Little Rock.  The crowd was 95% for the girls so we were like the Washington Generals playing the Harlem Globetrotters!”

John has dipped his toe into the younger division waters from time to time but it never took hold.

“We had some younger guys for a few years so we went to Vegas but not to the World Series.  Our loyalty remains with the guys who have been together for decades.  We’ll keep moving up as we get a little older.  We are all fortunate to be playing at an age we never imagined.”

I asked John about a defining moment, along with any final comments.

2014 and winning the 60+ Central is the highlight.  After finishing second so many times, it felt amazing.  We always had confidence in our abilities and continued hanging on and it finally paid off.  I’m happy for everyone who came along on the journey.

The other outstanding feature of this story is my partnership with Brian Carroll.  Our association has been over 20 years and we both have talents in either organizing or managing and one would be lost without the other.  Thank you, Brian.”