League History

It began with a single game

The Twin Cities first openly gay softball team was formed at the Saloon on May 6, 1979. The team was associated with the Minnesota Gay Athletic Association (MGAA), which had already established the "Goodtime" bowling league, and was sponsored by the Saloon. That summer the softball team played several charity games, including a game against the Minneapolis "Blue" Team on July 29 at Parade Stadium. That Sunday, an estimated 400 fans overflowed the bleachers and stretched down the third baseline to support the Saloon team, and behind the team's bench were eight male cheerleaders with green and white pompoms. Another 100 fans sat in the first baseline bleachers in support of the Blue Team. To the surprise of most, the Saloon team came out as victorious winner of the game. 

News of the game led the evening news on local TV stations, and the following day the Minneapolis Tribune on page one of the metro section with the headline "Gay Team Defeats Police 12-7 in Charity Softball Game." Later that summer, the team was invited to the third Gay Softball World Series (GSWS) held in Milwaukee that year over Labor Day weekend. The Saloon team placed second, losing to a Los Angeles team in the championship game, 12-13.

A league is founded

In January, 1980, the Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League (TCGSL) was established. The league adopted the name "goodtime" partly because of having a good time aligned with the league's mission statement, but also because in those days, it wasn't always safe identify as gay. In March, 1980, the fledgling league was accepted as the seventh member of the North American Gay Amateur Alliance (NAGAAA), the organization responsible for hosting the GSWS. TCGSL quickly established itself as an instrumental part of NAGAAA, contributing significantly to NAGAAA administration and competitions.

The early years

TCGSL's 9-game maiden season was inaugurated on Sunday, June 1, 1980 at Basset Creek park in Minneapolis. Four teams participated that season, three sponsored by bars, and one formed from a social community group. 

Team Sponsor Team Name Season Record
Saloon
Gay 90s
GAMMA
Grand Finale

Spirits
Bombers
GAMMA
Flyers

9 wins, 0 losses
5 wins, 4 losses
4 wins, 5 losses
0 wins, 9 losses


At the end of the season, the league held its first playoffs. The Saloon Spirits won the double-elimination tournament, earning the opportunity to represent the Twin Cities in that year's World Series.

In the second season, the league expanded to 7 teams. That same year, TCGSL began publication of a weekly newsletter loaded with team and individual softball stats, since discontinued and replaced with this website and social media. In addition, the league hosted its first national tournament over Independence Day weekend. The tournament was comprised of 16 teams, and since has evolved into the North Star Classic. 

In its third season, the league fielded 6 teams, one fewer than the year before, and the regular season expanded to twenty games. 

By the end of the 1980s, the league had moved from Basset Creek's three overlapping fields to the nearby Bryn Mawr Meadows, which offered improved playing conditions and room for growth.

From 1981 to 1991, the league fluctuated between 6-9 team, all playing in a single division. During this time, the league's prominent team was a major force in the national gay softball scene, placing in the top five teams in the 1982-1990 GSWS, and bringing home national championships in 1984, 1987, and 1988.

Continued growth

In 1992, the league grew to 10 teams and was divided into competitive and recreational divisions. This change aligned with the GSWS, which in 1988 had expanded to include competitive and recreational divisions. In 1994, the league again restructured itself into A, B, and C divisions, again following suit to a 1992 change with the GSWS structure. In 1994, the league introduced a short, 4 week, recreational fall league. Only 4 teams participated that first year.

With the three division structure in place, and and the fall league established, TCGSL grew steadily form 15 teams in 1995 to 24 in 2001. In 2002, the league reached 24 teams, and implemented a four division structure, forming A, B, C, and D divisions for the league playoffs. This increased the competitiveness for the division playoffs, and once again mirrored the introduction of a D division to the GSWS that same season.

In 2012, the TCGSL reached 38 teams, and continues to retain its size with little variation. Around that time, the league, for the first time, has deviated from aligning its structure with the GSWS, and instead has implemented a five division structure for league play. This continues to cultivate the spirit of having a good time and maintains a fun and competitive season of play. The league continues to have a strong presence with national tournaments, as well as at the GSWS, where teams conform to the standard structure of A, B, C, and D divisions.

In 2017, the TCGSL was recognized as Minnesota's Best Softball League by WCCO.

Celebrating 40 years

In 2018, the league will celebrate 40 years since that game back in 1979 that changed the landscape of gay softball in Minnesota. Incidentally, 2018 is a landmark year for the North Star Classic, celebrating 25 years of hosting a national tournament (noting that the league didn't host a NSC every year throughout the years).



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