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    Lundy Lumber destroyed Lyoming Dairy & yes it was a lopsided score but so what, and besides who ever heard of Lundy Lumber & Lyoming Dairy. For gosh sakes they sound like small town local yokel stores. And they were!

   The year was 1939 and what made this game so important was the fact that it was the first ever Little League game and it started because of a Lilac Bush and a scraped-up ankle.

   In August of ’38 lumberyard clerk Carl Stotz was in his backyard playing baseball, as he often did, with his two nephews, Jimmy and Major. A ball shot past Carl, he ran after it and ended up with a badly scraped ankle from a Lilac bush that he stumbled over.  Coming back to his nephews he suddenly had a vision. “How nice it would be if instead of playing in backyards and deserted lots or in schoolyards, kids could play in regular fields and with snappy uniforms, new balls, and even have an umpire to call balls and strikes, and maybe there would be people sitting in stands to watch all this.” The kids loved it!

   It would cost money though. Sponsors would have to support the team, parents would have to pitch in as well, ballparks would have to be built, people and organizations would have to get involved.

   After a few months of pitching the idea, 60 businesses had turned him down. Finally three sponsors turned up. Lindy Lumber, Jumbo Pretzel, and Lyoming Dairy came on board. All three agreed to not only

sponsor several teams but to pay for all the expenses (including uniforms, equipment), etc.

   The first Little League game was played a few yards away from Stotz’s house and the backyard where it all started. The site is now immortalized with a plaque stating that this is the original Little League field.

   It grew. By 1946 there were twelve separate leagues in Pennsylvania and by 1949 Stotz was chosen to be the full time Commisioner. In 1956 there were more states that that wanted to be part of this. Stotz felt that by adding more states the league would be diluted and the control of how the games should be played would be compromised and lost. He sued to try to block the expansion. After a long drawn out battle, the suit was settled out of court.

   In 1956 Stotz left, saying that things were getting out of hand. He died in Williamsport in 1992.

   It’s estimated that over three million kids play Little League Baseball yearly and all because of a Lilac  Bush:


   A complete version of this article (along with graphics and pictures) can be read in the April issue of ONE MORE INNING.


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