To say Steelville’s Ron Lindenberg has covered many facets of the game of softball would be an understatement. Be it a player, umpire, manager or director, Lindenberg has done whatever it takes to promote USSSA softball, especially in southern Illinois.
He started playing softball in 1968, but it was not until 1976 that his team played in USSSA-sanctioned tournaments.
He played at every position at least once, but lists outfielder as his main position while playing for teams such as Wayne and Rosie’s and Lindsey Oilers. A very solid hitter, the man known as “Toad” posted a .578 career batting average, while smacking 157 home runs over his 14 years. When he wasn’t running down fly balls, Lindenberg took his talents to the mound, compiling a 145-33 record before retiring from the playing field in 1990.
“I played in several USSSA State Tournaments, but was only fortunate enough to play in one Divisional in 1987 in Rockford,” Lindenberg said.
Although he never managed a team that played in USSSA leagues or tournaments, Lindenberg won over 1,200 games in 14 years as skipper of teams playing with another association. He has been a USSSA umpire for 29 years, working numerous State Tournaments, 12 Divisional/National Tournaments and helped run umpire clinics for 17 years in southern Illinois.
In 1992, Lindenberg became an Illinois USSSA Director, the Southern Illinois State Director in 1998 and the Southern Illinois Regional Director in 2001. He was named State Rookie Director of the Year in 1993, although he said “it was actually my second year.”
Along with many leagues and tournaments he has helped run, he has also hosted 13 State Championships, including two Class C State and one Class D State at Chester.
He used friendships started through other organizations to help build up the USSSA, which he lists as his biggest accomplishment.
“I used the acquaintances I made to persuade teams from the other associations to try the USSSA program,” Lindenberg said. “It was fairly successful and many of those teams still participate in USSSA today.”
Over the years, with a chance to be around several different softball programs, Lindenberg has nothing but praise for the USSSA.
“I am familiar with other organizations and I can honestly say that USSSA is the best,” Lindenberg said. “The USSSA program is better regardless if you are a player, director, umpire or manager.”
With Ron Lindenberg’s induction into the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame, we honor someone who has devoted countless hours to try and make the softball world a better place.