APRIL 2007: THE BASEBALL GURU ARTICLE FROM
CARL STOTZ: THE FOUNDER OF LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL:1938
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 Stotzs 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
In 1956 Stotz left, saying that things were getting out of hand. He
Its 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.