St. Petersburg softball team is the oldest continuously operating senior softball league in the United States

A St. Petersburg softball team keeps its players young at heart.

Ethel Lehmann has been playing this game since she was a child.

“I love softball,” she shared.

She is now 93 and still plays twice a week.

FOX 13’s Lloyd Sowers asked him, “Have you ever dreamed you’d still be playing at 93?”

“No, I didn’t think I would live this long, let alone play!” she replied.

Old photo of Ethel Lehmann playing softball.

Ethel Lehmann has been playing softball since she was a child.

She is a member of the Kids and Kubs softball team. They play a doubleheader every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg.

On Tuesday, the team kicked off its 93rd season.

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“We are the oldest continuously operating senior softball league in the United States and probably in the world,” said Will Michaels, 80, first baseman and team president.

When the Veterans Administration conducted a study of Kids and Kubs members, they learned that the players had less heart disease, fewer varicose veins, and were happier than other people their age.

You must be at least 75 years old to play. The team has existed since 1930.

A vintage photograph in the Saint Petersburg History Museum shows Babe Ruth visiting the team in 1933.

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Members of the city’s 3/4 Century Club formed the team for fun. But, they soon noticed that playing made them feel better.

A vintage photograph in the Saint Petersburg History Museum shows Babe Ruth visiting the team in 1933.

A vintage photograph in the Saint Petersburg History Museum shows Babe Ruth visiting the team in 1933.

“Later in the 1970s, the Veterans Administration here locally actually did a study of Kids and Kubs members,” says Michaels. “They were surprised by the results.”

Michaels said the players had less heart disease than a group of people the same age who didn’t play. He says the players also seemed happier.

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“Guys were having a lot more fun and they were a lot more upbeat,” he says.

All players must be at least 75 years old to play on the team.

All players must be at least 75 years old to play on the team.

There are still a lot of smiles on the pitch even though the games are competitive. Players love to track their stats.

“We have batting averages, slugging averages and on-base percentage,” Michaels explains.

They like to keep their stats high and their blood pressure low.

For Kids and Kubs, the goal of the game is to make it last as long as possible.

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