Obit of the Day: Short Career Leads to Long Softball Game

Marv Rotblatt pitched in 26 games in his short major league career. He debuted on July 4, 1948 for his hometown team, the Chicago White Sox. Facing the Detroit Tigers he threw two innings, surrendering one hit. He would have six more appearances that season and then head back to minors until 1950.

He played with the Sox through the 1951 season, after which he was traded - to the minor league Seattle Rainiers. Instead of heading to the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Rotblatt joined the Army and never returned to baseball. He would retire with a 4-3 record and a 4.82 ERA. 

And there would end his story.

But Mr. Rotblatt’s name survives - 405 miles northwest of Comiskey Park at a small liberal arts college that he never attended. In 1967 on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Carleton College (Northfield, MN), a group of students decided to play a marathon softball game of 100 innings.

The game was organized by the Marvin J.* Rotblatt Memorial^ Softball League. According to stories the league was named for the mediocre pitcher because one of the league organizers had his baseball card. Eventually the league disbanded but the game became known simply as “The Rotblatt” and has been played for 47 years - with an inning added each year. (There are also unusual rules including only hitting one handed - because you are to carry a drink in the other.)

Mr. Rotblatt did visit the college and play in the game, hitting a homer in at least one plate appearance. 

Marv Rotblatt, namesake of what Sports Illustrated called “the world’s longest intramural event,” died on July 16, 2013 at the age of 85.

Random note: In 1988, Mr. Rotblatt was briefly in the news for his own death, which was fictional. Dr. Harold Klawans, a Chicago neurologist, collected a list of case studies and published them under the title Toscanini’s Fumble. To ensure patient confidentiality, Dr. Klawans changed the patient names to those of former major league baseball players. One case study featured “Marv Rotblatt” who died from a brain tumor. The living Mr. Rotblatt sued Dr. Klawans…for “defamation of character or something." 

Sources: NY Times,,, Carleton College Class of 1967 page (which features a great poem documenting the first Rotblatt), and the Chicago Reader

(Image of Mr. Rotblatt’s 1951 Bowman card, which served as an inspiration for the softball game named for the pitcher. Carleton College’s Class of 1967 has collected 8 of the cards which are worth approximately $300/card. Courtesy of

* The "J” was an invention, I could find no record of Mr. Rotblatt’s middle name.

^ Mr. Rotblatt was very much alive in 1967 but “Memorial” adds gravitas.

Check out the Obit of the Day sports page for more great athletes.

Johnny Cash Is Being Immortalized In Folsom With This Red Hot Statue

Johnny Cash is getting an epic memorial in Folsom, the city that was home to his iconic performance inside a penitentiary nearly 50 years ago. According to TMZ, the city has plans for a 40-foot-tall statue of the Cash, with cutouts making it appear as if he’s standing in a ring of fire at sunset.

The statue (dubbed “Man In Black”) will be one of several on Johnny Cash Trail in Folsom, a public path that was unveiled in 2014 which crosses a section of land owned by the famous prison where Cash performed. The statue is being made by Gary Tillery of The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany. The studio is well known for commemorative statue work like “The Spirit” (a.k.a. the Michael Jordan statue in front of the United Center) and that recently unveiled Shaq statue.

The statue is expected to be up on the trail by 2018, depending on funding for the project. It will be joined by other installations, including a “Ring of Fire” made of guitar picks and a laser-cut image of Cash made out of large stainless-steel poles.

For more Cash, check out the note he wrote to June Carter Cash that would go on to be voted the greatest love letter of all time. Then, brush up on your Cash trivia before heading out to Folsom.

The @lakers organization has announced its plans to honor NBA legend @shaq with his very own statute outside @staplescenterla during the 2016-2017 NBA season. Enlisting the help of husband-and-wife sculptors Julie Rotblatt-Amrany and Omri Amrany—artists behind the statues of Star Plaza, United Center’s ‘The Spirit: Michael Jordan’ statue and more—the piece is expected to weigh between 1,000 to 1,500 lbs and will overlook Star Plaza, hanging mid-air from the balcony of the Staples Center. by hypebeast

Here is my sleep deprived self wearing my new t-shirt. Stayed in line for one and half hours, starting at 3:45am, and was able to shove my way through the crowd and catch it in the air. I was also able to get a second shirt, which I gave to one of my friends.

Rotblatt is 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 Rotblatt tradition for players to both bat and field with a beverage of their choice in one hand.

and by “beverage of their choice,” of course they mean “beer”

yesterday we had rotblatt 147

we played 147 innings of drunken softball.