The Birth of Rotblatt

May 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Rotblatt was born as a men’s intramural softball league in 1964 when a group of sophomores created the new league and, in an inexplicable fit of inspiration, named it in honor of Marvin J. Rotblatt (1927–2013). Rotblatt had been an eminently forgettable journeyman pitcher for the White Sox in the 1950s, but at Carleton his name was to become legend.

The Class of 1967 posted this history of Rotblatt's origins:

Rotblatt softball was started by Carleton Class of ’66 legends Eric Carlson, Rick Chap, Bob Greenberg, and Bob “P.T.” Moore in Spring of 1964 as an open-to-everyone, slow-pitch alternative to intramural softball—everyone except freshmen and women! When we of the Class of ‘67 started playing as sophomores in 1965, Rotblatt had more than a dozen teams and played a regular season stretching over the few Spring days when the weather was suitable for play, followed by a World Series between division champs. Competition was serious, and weekly stats sheets were widely studied throughout the men’s dorms, accompanied by bragging and teasing. 

On May 16, 1967, 20 three-year hard-core Blatters from our class played nine hours of Rotblatt, famous as The 100-Inning Game, to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival on campus of the college’s first class. Divided into two teams, 20 boys became men that day, all going the entire 100 innings with each of us playing 10 innings at each position in the field. The SOTS, captained by high commissioners Mort (Ken Mortenson) and Mose (Marc Mosiman), walloped the Dirty Old Men by a fitting 100-81 score. Meticulous hitting and fielding stats were kept by Theo Lutz (soph/junior Blatter who deserted to the varsity as a senior), published, and bragged on to this day.

We started a tradition, with each successive year adding an inning to the marathon game, which begins at dawn. The Class of ’67 does not recognize the once-per-year game Rotblatt has devolved into five decades later—beer-ball with dozens or hundreds of unserious players coming and going.

Rotblatt continues at Carleton today as the world's longest intramural sport. Played once each spring, this marathon softball game begins at sunrise and lasts one inning for each year of Carleton's existence since it was founded in 1866. It is modern Rotblatt tradition for players to both bat and field with a beverage of their choice in one hand.

Comments

  • June 8 2016 at 9:59 am
    Eric Guttag, Class of 1974,

     

    I played Rotblatt only one year (Spring of 1973), but enjoyed it immensely.  Also had a .488 batting average!  

  • August 11 2016 at 11:27 am
    Susan Hvistendahl

    I wrote about "Rotblatt, A Spring Tradition" in April 2011 and included it in "Historic Happenings at Carleton College" (published in 2015) and available at northfieldhistory.org.  The Carleton Archives also has the "Definitive History of the Marvin Rotblatt Memorial Softball League" by Don Rawitsh, Class of 1972. Rotblatt himself died in Evanston, Illinois, on July 16, 2013, at the age of 85.

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