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Play Ball! Or Not

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Hundreds of ex-players and fans are expected to attend today's Sno Ball Softball Tournament's 25th Anniversary Celebration. And they all have Larry Shaw to thank for the memories. Starting in 1981, Cleveland Heights' parks & recreation director organized the tourney after a March of Dimes rep suggested it as a fund-raiser for the agency. At the height of its popularity in the mid-’ 90s, the winter tournament drew as many as 400 teams to play ball in the snow. But interest fizzled about a decade ago, when Cleveland winters wouldn't cooperate. "If you didn't have snow — just mud — we'd have to postpone it a week," says Shaw. "Every year it got more erratic." But Shaw hangs onto the recollections, many of which will be shared today. (Alas, there's no game this afternoon — just plenty of boozing and storytelling.) "It was a big party, with players going inside between games to get hot dogs," says Shaw. "And I'm sure they did some imbibing."
Sat., Jan. 21, noon

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