At 70, Lyle Lorenz’ cleats have seen more wear and tear than the average baseball player.
But now the Lacombe-native is hanging them up.
Since 2006, he has coached, managed, organized and played on the Red Deer Legends baseball team. The team has competed in several World Series of Amateur Baseball Championships, which take place every fall in Phoenix, Arizona as well as the Canadian 50-plus championships.
“It was my 21st trip down and it was my last,” said Lorenz. “I wanted to play one year at the 70 and over and so did quite a few of the players we play with around Alberta. I’m the guy who does the organizing and I thought if I didn’t organize it, they wouldn’t end up going.”
Lorenz, a centrefielder and pitcher, recently returned from Phoenix after competing in his last World Series. This year they competed in both the 65-plus and the 70-plus, which Lorenz organized.
Despite winning championships in the 60-plus division in 2010, 2014 and 2014, in his last season the Legends lost in the semifinals in both divisions they competed in.
The team has also won Canadian 50-plus championships in 2007 and 2011 and the World Series of Amateur Baseball Championship 58-plus in 2006 and the 65-plus in 2008.
“I just kept playing,” said Lorenz. “When you like the game, you just keep going when there are opportunities. You have to have teams to play on. I’ve been fortunate to live in areas where there’s always opportunities.”
Throughout the year, the Legends play in the Red Deer Senior Men’s Baseball League. They play against much younger teams, as the league is for those aged 30 and up.
Though they lose more than they win the men’s league, Lorenz said it keeps the team in game shape for their big tournament in the fall.
Lorenz said the average age of the team is about 65 with most over the age of 60 and only one player under the age of 50.
In 2013, Lorenz was inducted into the World Series of Amateur Baseball hall of fame and this summer he was inducted into the Canadian Oldtimer’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
“Our generation is the first to play competitive baseball into our senior years,” said Lorenz. “We’re quite proud of that and we hope the younger generations continue on to do that.”