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A Piece of the Past - February 2006

Museum Namesake

Bronze bust of Peter J. McGovern.
Who was Peter J. McGovern and why is there a museum dedicated to Little League Baseball and Softball named after him?

Many visitors see the bronze bust of Mr. McGovern in the lobby of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum and wonder what role he played in the youth organization that was founded by Carl E. Stotz in 1939.

An accompanying bronze plaque explains that the Little League International board of directors unanimously decided at its October 28, 1983, meeting to name the museum in Mr. McGovern’s honor, and place a bronze bust in his likeness and a plaque noting his tenure of service. The recognition was a result of “his untiring dedication to Little League Baseball.”

Mr. McGovern’s first brush with Little League was in 1952 when he replaced the ailing Charles Durban, a U.S. Rubber executive, who was chairman of the first Little League Board of Directors. U.S. Rubber’s involvement with Little League began in 1948 when the New York-based company became the youth organization’s first national sponsor, so it “loaned” an executive to help manage Little League’s affairs. But at the time, Little League was just beginning to grow, and Mr. Durban did not need to spend much time in Williamsport.

The bust can be seen in the lobby of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.

Initially incorporated in 1949, Little League had expanded so much in the early 1950s that an absentee business manager became impractical. Mr. McGovern, a 1926 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and a U.S. Rubber executive from Detroit, moved to Williamsport to become the first full-time president of Little League Baseball. Softball would not become part of Little League until 22 years later.

Mr. McGovern’s exemplary service to Little League ended after three decades. He passed away in 1984, two years after the museum opened.

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.