Pieces of Our Past: December Week 1
Truth Be Told: First Book about Little League was Written by Program’s Founder Carl Stotz
The first book written about Little League Baseball includes players who are fictitious and is a composite of many teams. Copies of the book can be found at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport, Pa.
“At Bat With the Little League” was written by Carl E. Stotz, the founder of the youth organization, and M.W. Baldwin in 1952. Although the work is one of fiction, the 76 photographs are of actual players and situations.
“The pictorial account parallels rather than illustrates the fictional story,” according to the information included on the copyright page.
Mr. Stotz wrote about his decision to make the book a work of fiction:
“I know hundreds of you in Little League,” Mr. Stotz said. “I have seen dozens and dozens of games in all parts of the country. In fact, I know firsthand so many thrilling and heart-warming stories about the players and people who make Little League that I could never use all your names or mention all the teams. It hardly seems fair to single out a few for special mention when there are hundreds of others equally good.”
The story shares what happened to “Haywood, U.S.A.,” which could be anyone’s hometown, when Little League was introduced. The plot evolves from the “local tryouts to the breathtaking excitement of the championship World Series at Williamsport, Pa. – and the good sportsmanship that is the keynote of Little League.”
It includes the story of how Little League started and the miracle it works in communities.
The museum has two copies of “At Bat;” one is in the Founder’s Room and the other is in the museum’s library. When it first came into print, the book sold for $2.95.
The co-author, Mrs. Baldwin, was the wife of Guy Baldwin, who was instrumental in introducing Little League to Sullivan County in 1948. Mrs. Baldwin invited E.H. Brandt, a senior editor of the Saturday Evening Post vacationing in Sullivan County, to watch an exhibition game. He was so impressed that he assigned a writer and a photographer to attend the national tournament and tell the Little League story.
With the national exposure in the Saturday Evening Post on May 14, 1949, the Little League phenomenon exploded.
This research was made possible through a General Operating Support Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The Museum is at 525 Route 15 Highway, just south of Williamsport, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and by group appointment from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Its hours are extended during the summer season. The facility is accessible to the disabled.
Rates are $5 for adults; $3 for those 62 and older; $1.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 13. There is no fee for children 4 or younger. Group rates and tours are available. The Museum also offers birthday parties and after-hours facility rentals.
The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.
For more information, call the museum at (570) 326-3607; or visit http://www.LittleLeague.org/Learn_More/museum.htm.