Little League® International mourns the passing of Harold “Bud” Vanderberg, member of the Little League International Board of Directors, retired Michigan 2 District Administrator, and former Tournament Director of the Little League, Senior League, and Big League Softball World Series. He was 92.
Mr. Vanderberg, a native of Millwood, in the city of Kalamazoo, Mich., was instrumental in bringing Little League to southern Michigan. His introduction to Little League was in 1958, when his son, Jack, became a Little Leaguer®. In 1969, he was elected as Administrator for Michigan District 2, and held that position for 45 years (1969-2014). Mr. Vanderberg was elected to the Little League International Board of Directors in 1984, and was a current member at the time of his passing.
“Bud Vanderberg was a pioneer, who was motivated by creating opportunity, and the endless possibilities that Little League could offer children to excel,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “A champion for the sport of softball, Bud was inspired and tireless in his desire to share the ideals of Little League with every child or volunteer within earshot. He could dominate a room, and be infectious with his passion for our program, but was always humble and well respected among his peers. He will be sincerely missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Mr. Vanderberg spearheaded the establishment of Little League Softball®, and made his hometown of Kalamzoo the recognized “home” of the Softball World Series.
In the first years of the Little League Softball program, Kalamazoo hosted both the Little League Softball World Series and Senior League Softball World Series. After the Little league Softball World Series (1980-93) relocated to its current home in Portland, Ore., the Big League Softball World Series (1994-2011) joined the Senior League Softball World Series (1980-1999) in Kalamazoo. In 1985, Mr. Vanderberg’s accomplishments as an advocate for Little League were recognized when the softball park which hosted each of these World Series events over the years was named Vanderberg Park in his honor.
Mr. Vanderberg (far left) with the 2012 Big League Softball World Series Champions from Philippines District 1.
In April 2007, at the 24th Little League International Congress convened in Houston, Mr. Vanderberg was presented the Chairman’s Award for his lifetime of commitment to Little League. In 2014, at the 26th Little League International Congress in Minneapolis, Little League International recognized Mr. Vanderberg with the presentation of his 45-year service pin.