Space Coast Sports Hall Of Famer
ABOVE VIDEO: Todd Erickson was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
2017 AMATEUR INDUCTEE
DEFEATED CANSECO BROTHERS
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Not many of us can say we hit a ball further than former Major League baseball player Jose Canseco, a four-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award and an athlete that averaged 40 home runs for every 162 games. Todd Erickson can.
Responding to a Twitter challenge, Erickson beat not just Jose, but also his baseball-playing twin, Ozzie, in Ocala on the long softball distance.
The Palm Bay resident credits the Cansecos with helping him reach that achievement by providing him with good pointers on hitting and the mental approach necessary to push his limits.
Erickson could arguably be the best softball player in the world, considering that he should hold the world record at 576 feet for the longest batted ball, a feat many people can’t wrap their minds around.
Not bad for someone who didn’t play any sports during high school and who currently doesn’t play professionally or even in a recreational league.
His journey into the record books began in the Navy.
“I just play a tournament here and there,” he said. “I started playing softball midway through my Navy term,” he said.
Most sailors join the Navy to see the world. Erickson, on the other hand, saw plenty of softball fields.
When a fellow sailor asked him to join the team he was starting and Erickson ended up hitting a towering shot, the Navy provided Erickson with that “lightbulb” moment when he realized reaching the heights and lengths of the long softball was to be his mission in life.
When asked what his favorite softball field is, Erickson does not hesitate, the field at Naval Station Bremerton.
Although he didn’t participate in sports before his military career, there must have been a latent love of the game in Erickson’s psyche, because to this day he considers his best sports-related gift the tickets to a Major League Baseball game he received as a kid.
HEADING FOR 600 FEET?
Erickson is more than a softball-hitting phenom; he is a softball-hurling demon.
His arms could conceivably be classified as weapons of mass destruction, because when he launches a softball, it becomes a missile that at speeds of more than 120 miles an hour would wreak havoc to scoreboards and light posts, were it not for the fact that these round rockets fly over them with seemingly the greatest of ease. You don’t want to be anywhere near the path of an Erickson softball.
At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, the slugger is big, but not huge, yet he regularly hits softballs more than 500 feet.
He considers himself a work in progress, so he practices, practices, practices, taking as many as 500 swings each week, as much as his day job will allow.
Since he has mastered the 500-foot range, he is heading towards 600 feet, and given his intensity and passion for the sport, he is sure to achieve it, and probably very soon.
“I’m pretty certain I can hit over 600 feet,” said Erickson.
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