The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

LeRoy Carlson - Inducted 2013

One of the greatest softball pitchers in South Dakota and Iowa, Carlson’s career began at the age of 13 on a team from Baltic and lasted for 41 seasons, ending in 1979 in Sioux City.

 Carlson grew up in Baltic and Sioux Falls, graduating from Washington High.  After spending four years in the Navy, he returned to Sioux Falls and his legend grew as he dominated South Dakota hitters.  In 1948, Carlson teamed up with another local star pitcher, Paul Ferrie, and they won the state VFW championship.  In the national VFW tourney in Austin, Texas, they won two and lost two.  In 1949, they again won the state VFW tourney and in the national tournament Carlson pitched the team to the semifinals. He pitched 11 games in 3½ days, pitching four no-hitters, four one-hitters and three two-hitters.  He went the distance in a 13-inning game, striking out 36 of a possible 39 outs.  Carlson was selected to the All-America team and was awarded the Outstanding Player trophy. In 1950, they won the state VFW title again. In 1951, he and Ferrie again teamed up and their El Morocco Club team won the state ASA championship.  He pitched three of the five games, allowing no hits and averaging 19 strikeouts per game.

 In 1952, Carlson moved to Iowa to begin his domination of fastpitch in that state.  When his teams returned to Sioux Falls for tourneys, his legendary pitching duels with Ferrie attracted the largest crowds ever for fastpitch in South Dakota. In Iowa, Carlson won open class state championships in 1955 with Glen Towers of Des Moines, 1956 with the Night Hawks of Des Moines and 1964 with Gibson’s Appliance of Sioux City. He was named the tourney’s Most Valuable Pitcher all three times. He also won the 1974 Class B title with the Sooland Soos of Sioux City and the 1978 Class A title with the Kingsley Merchants.


Carlson holds  Iowa state tournament records for state tourneys won (5);  pitching wins (76); shutouts (51); no-hitters (10); strikeouts (886); strikeouts in seven innings (20); years played (25); and games played (99).

Following retirement from softball, he was instrumental in forming the Sioux City Softball Association and in the design of numerous softball complexes within the city.

He is a member of the South Dakota and Iowa softball halls of fame.

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