(L-R) Little League President and CEO Steven D. Keener, Bill Byham, and Ken Sawyer.
Little League® International mourns the passing of Bill “Buck” Byham, Williamsport radio personality, who broadcast each Little League Baseball® World Series since 1959. He was 88.
Mr. Byham, a native of Kane. Pa., called his first Little League Baseball World Series game on Aug. 25, 1959, between Schenectady (N.Y.) National Little League and Valleyfield Little League of Quebec, Canada. Each World Series since, Mr. Byham has been a member of the WRAK radio crew that has served as the exclusive English-speaking broadcast partner of the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
A teacher at South Williamsport (Pa.) Area High School for 26 years, Mr. Byham retired as an educator in 1984; and later served as Sports Information Director at Lycoming College in Williamsport from 1987-to-1992.
"Bill Byham was an institution in Williamsport and throughout Central Pennsylvania,” said Steven D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “Mr. Byham truly personalized the Little League experience for fans and players through his broadcast calls. For nearly 60 years, he spent every day of the World Series setting the scene, and describing the sights and sounds, but more importantly, he made this event exciting by giving the home-town feel to our international event. We will miss him at the World Series, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
During Mr. Byham’s 44th Little League Baseball World Series, the press section at Little League Volunteer Stadium was named in his honor in 2002. Volunteer Stadium is one of two stadiums in which the annual Little League Baseball World Series is played.
Mr. Byham worked for 20 years as a coach in the Little League Summer Camp and served many more years as a volunteer. He also volunteered at the local league level, coaching in the Little Mountaineer Little League in South Williamsport. Managers from the region often contact Mr. Byham to help train pitchers. Mr. Byham was honored with the W. Howard Hartman Little League Friendship Award in 1993.
Among his many other recognitions, Mr. Byham, a graduate of Bloomsburg University, was inducted into the school’s athletics hall of fame in 1994; and was also a member the 1989 class of inductees to the West Branch Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He received the Dale V. Bower Service Award from Lycoming College in 2012; and in 2013, was inducted into the Warriors athletics hall of fame. Three years later, in 2016, Mr. Byham was among the first 20 honored with a marker along the Sports Walk located in downtown Williamsport.
A former minor league pitcher in the New York Giants system, Mr. Byham, was affectionately known to his friends and peers as, “the ol’ left-hander.”
Mr. Byham is survived by his wife, Nellie; son, Rob; daughter, Kathi; and several grandchildren.