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A Piece of the Past - December 2005
Jolly snowman players and other winter figures are included among an extensive collection of baseball-related figurines that the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport has on display year-around. The museum is part of the Little League International complex.
The collection is an outgrowth of a hobby begun in 1957 by the late Arnold S. White, Sr., who was the long-time director of the Little League Southern Regional Headquarters in Gulfport, Fla., a suburb of St. Petersburg.
His first figurine was a hand-carved hobo holding a baseball bat, and by 1983 he had more than 400 items valued at from a few pennies to hundreds of dollars.
After Mr. White passed away in 1992 at the age of 73, his wife, Mary E. “Suzy” White and family donated much of his collection to the museum. The museum has more than 500 items from the collection.
In addition to holiday items, there are music boxes, banks, and figurines of baseball players in numerous poses made from ceramic, seashell, papier-mache, pewter, glass, rock and wood. Some are signed and numbered, while others are mere trinkets. Some are hand-made. Angels, puppets, animals and paperweights are included in the collection as are Sesame Street characters, Smurfs, and Garfield. Portions of the huge collection are on display at any one time, and items are rotated.
Perhaps the most noticeable item in the collection is not a figurine, but the brightly colored jacket Mr. White wore to Little League Baseball World Series games involving “his” team from the Southern Region.
Mr. White, who started his relationship with Little League in the early 1950s as a volunteer, spent more than 40 years working with Little League players and volunteers in the 13 states that comprised the Southern Region during his tenure.
U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young of Florida announced the Mr. White’s passing in 1993 to elected officials: “Mr. White believed baseball is a game that teaches our youth invaluable lessons about life, responsibility and adulthood. … Mr. White touched many lives in his work on behalf of the veterans and youth. Although he is no longer with us, the lessons he taught children on behalf of youth will remain with them for many, many years to come. In that way, his legacy will live on.”
Rep. Young added that it was fitting that the last time he was with Mr. White was a month earlier, when the Arnold S. White, Sr. Stadium at the Little League Southern Regional Headquarters was named in his honor.
A medical administrator for the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bay Pines, Fla., for 30 years, Mr. White devoted himself to Little League after his retirement.
In one interview, Mr. White explained the reason he remained with Little League long after his son, Arnold Jr., graduated from the program in the 1950s: “It gave me an avenue to do something that I felt was worthwhile to the community, as well as worthwhile to kids.”
The museum, 525 Route 15 Highway, South Williamsport, is open from Labor Day through Memorial Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment only during its winter hours. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The facility is accessible to the disabled.
Rates are $5 for adults, $3 for those 62 and older, and $1.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 13. There is no fee for children 4 or younger. For more information, call the museum at 570-326-3607, or click here for more information.