In the 1940’s and 1950’s, fast pitch softball would draw standing room only crowds of over 5,000 to Denver’s City Park. They came to see the dame, but they came specifically to see Larry Bollig. In a sensational pitching career spanning more than 1,000 games, he won over 925 and pitched an estimated 150 no-hitters.
A man who partnered a northside Denver grocery store, Bollig will most be remembered for winning four games at the world championships in 1945. Two of those were no-hitters and earned him recognition as one of the top five pitchers in the world.
Prior to that achievement he finished an illustrious athletic career while in the Armed Forces. During World War II and his stint with the Navy in the Pacific, Bollig pitched in and won all 165 games his teams played with an astounding 65 no-hitters.
Upon completion of his military obligation, he went on a tear, winning six consecutive regional tournaments en route to the national tournament. While he never won a World Championship with his Denver teammates, he uncorked a perfect no-hit no-run game striking out all 21 batters faced in the 1947 World Championships.
Bollig was born in Platteville, Colorado in 1924 and went on to graduate from Greeley High School. He married Lillie Mae Clark, his high school sweetheart, in 1944, and is the father of three girls and one boy. The Denver area has been his home since 1941. The smooth right-hander’s career ended in 1977 when he tore knee cartilage in the third inning of softball game. He pitched the remaining four innings not even aware he had been hurt.
Bollig will most be remembered for winning four games at the world championships in 1945.