SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The 95-year-old Toft isn’t just a World War II veteran, he’s believed to be the oldest living Canary, having played two seasons for an earlier iteration of the minor league baseball franchise in 1947 and 1948. The Birds were a Class C affiliate of the Chicago Cubs back then, and Toft was a patient, contact-hitting infielder who’d grown up loving the game.
A Humboldt native and longtime Sioux Falls resident, Toft has been to dozens of Canaries games over the years, and was back there with more than 30 friends and family when he was honored in the third inning to celebrate his contributions in both military service and as a link to the old days of Canaries baseball.
Don and his wife of 67 years, Flo, couldn’t have been more excited for their day of recognition at the Birdcage.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” Toft said earlier this week when asked about the honors coming his way. “I didn’t ask for it. But here it comes. I’m pretty excited.”
“I just love sports,” he says. “Athletics have always been very important to us. And it makes me feel good to see how far athletics in (South Dakota) have come.”