Softball party to celebrate longtime Wadena city league organizer Dale Miller who died last fall

Miller Signs teammate Jim Young to honor cherished friend

Dale Murphy Softball party.jpg
Jim Young and Dale Miller and their softball-playing buddies gathered for a party just before the pandemic several years ago. Young and Miller played softball together in area town ball leagues for more than 20 years. Miller died last fall, but on Saturday, May 6, Young will celebrate their friendship and love for the game at his home. Anyone who played with either Young or Miller is invited to the event.

Jim Young fondly remembers his 20 years of playing softball with his longtime friend and teammate Dale Miller, a name ubiquitous in the Wadena area softball circle.

Some may remember Miller as the guy that spent years organizing the Wadena city softball league, but Young also could claim him as a friend and teammate.

The pair spent a lot of time together, not only on the softball diamond, where they both played for Miller’s self-sponsored team, Miller Signs, but they also golfed, fished and hunted together for more than 20 years. But, unfortunately, Miller died last fall after battling cancer.

In honor of his teammate and buddy, Young is hosting a “softball party” on Saturday, May 6, that is part reunion and part memorial, but most importantly focused on fun.

“I organized it in Dale’s name to honor him. Dale ran the Wadena city league for years, and many knew him for that,” Young said. “And to Dale, that was his life … softball. When he got into something, he went big time.”


This will be the second time that Young has hosted such a softball reunion and get-together. He hosted one just before the pandemic several years ago, and he’s hoping for an even bigger turnout this time to pay tribute to Miller.

He even took to Facebook to announce the event, and he was intentionally very loose with the restrictions about who could attend: “Softball party for anyone that played with Jim Young, Sunny, Hogger or Dale Miller (and their spouses, significant other, or anyone else you might want to bring) over the years. If in doubt, come. I have a big yard. Spread the word.”

Young and Miller’s softball roots go deep. The two started playing together in 1976 when Young joined Miller’s Miller Signs team. In 1986, they finally won the Wadena city league title together. But they didn’t stop at just one championship; over the next decade, they won six more titles together. Finally, after they won their last title in 1996, the team folded. Young said the competition was much stiffer and they were getting older. They knew it was time to hang up the cleats.

Softball championship team.jpg
After 10 years of chasing a title, the Miller Signs softball team, including Jim Young and Dale Miller, captured the Wadena city league championship in 1986. Young and Miller were the core of the team for more than 20 years. Young is hosting a reunion party at his home on Saturday to toast Miller who died last fall and to remember the good ol’ days.

“That last year, we won the championship against a better team,” he said. “They were better, but somehow we won.”

During their competitive years, Young and Miller played softball all over the region, including in towns such as Clarissa, Bertha, Hewitt, Staples, New York Mills, Detroit Lakes and more.

“We played softball four nights a week, and then tournaments on the weekends. All summer long,” Young said. “We played two nights a week in Wadena, two nights a week in Clarissa and then one-off tournaments on the weekends.”

For those interested in attending the Miller memorial softball party, Young says he will provide the yard and cooking grills. You bring your own meat and other snacks, and your drinks. He also encourages bringing lawn chairs, folding tables and lawn games.

Young’s address is 10473 107th Ave. in Wadena.


“As the owner of Davey Jones Liquor Locker told Dale and I at closing time, ‘Let's have a party.’” Young’s Facebook post about the event says. “For anyone who knew Dale, you didn't have to tell him a second time. And party we did. We stumbled out of there about 3 or 4 in the morning.”

Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at for comments and story ideas.
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