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86-year-old softball player enjoys game, inspires others in senior league

“I’ve been playing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper,” 86-year-old senior adult shortstop Chuck Jahnke said.
“I’ve been playing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper,” 86-year-old senior adult shortstop Chuck Jahnke said.(Source: WAFF)
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 1:11 PM CDT
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By Carl Prather | July 16, 2020 at 6:48 PM CDT - Updated July 16 at 6:48 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - North Alabama has numerous adult baseball and softball summer leagues. One player continues his high production game in and game out.

“I’ve been playing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper,” 86-year-old senior adult shortstop Chuck Jahnke said. “I mean it’s been many many years. I started out throwing a ball against the steps on a porch, and that’s how I got my defense.”

Jahnke has lived in Huntsville for over 30 years. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, his love for the game came at an early age, but with restrictions.

“I had to work. The guy that I worked for in the grocery store said, ‘You can play one sport.’ Well, I picked basketball. But then when I got out of high school, I started playing baseball,” Jahnke said.

Jahnke stopped playing baseball because?

“I wasn’t fast enough to make the team I was playing with. But I’ve been playing slow pitch probably since 1980.”

So the summer days in Huntsville are days Jahnke looks forward to. To compete in the game he fell in love with years ago.

“I just can’t wait to get out here. It’s just being out here on this ball diamond waiting for someone to hit me a ground ball that’s all I’m waiting for,” he said.

And his biggest fan takes in all the action with him and from afar. His wife of 63 years, who’s blind.

“She comes to every one of my games. She can’t see but she comes. She’s backed me in all my sports all my life. She’s a big sport. She backs me all the way,” Jahnke added.

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Original Story: https://www.waff.com/2020/07/16/year-old-softball-player-enjoys-game-inspires-others-area-senior-league/

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