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A Piece of the Past - June 2006
Many artifacts at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum symbolize the spirit of the Little League Baseball World Series for all who participate each year. Among them are a medal, pin and certificate given to all of the players in the World Series games during the mid-1980s, a continuing tradition honoring all participants for dedication and teamwork on the road to Williamsport.
Although only one team can walk away from the Little League Baseball World Series as world champions, Little League International recognizes each child who participates in the tournament regardless of victory or defeat. In recent years players have received a medal, pin, and official certificate for their achievements. In early years they received a pin and a trophy. The “Road to Williamsport” display in the museum’s World Series Room houses these reminders of the hard work of past Little Leaguers.
The Road to Williamsport exhibit includes a circular, bronze-colored medal attached to a red, white and blue ribbon bearing the Little League emblem and the words “Participant 1987 World Series.” A small but elaborate pin features the same design. Such pins have been distributed by Little League to players since the organization’s earliest days. Also included is a “Certificate of Champions,” citing each participant for demonstrating “the skills of baseball, the spirit of teamwork and … wholesome deportment as a participant in the World Series.”
Such mementos may seem trivial in comparison to the glory of World Series victory, yet they embody the spirit of Little League by recognizing the hard work of each player leading up to the World Series.
The Road to Williamsport involves an extended series of playoffs on numerous levels. Teams of 11- and 12-year-old all-stars are selected from among a local league’s regular season teams. Of these teams, about 90 percent are eliminated from competition within the first three weeks of tournament play.
District tournaments, the most basic level of tournament play, begin in early July. The second level takes place on a state, provincial, or national level in late July or early August, with Regional level competition determining which teams will participate in the World Series.
Sixteen teams advance to Williamsport to compete at the World Series in Williamsport - eight from the United States and eight from other countries around the globe. Prior to 2001, only eight teams – four from the United States and four from the International division - advanced to the World Series.
World Series championships also are held for seven other baseball and softball divisions in the Little League program. Their championship playoffs are held at other locations, featuring the culmination of the same type of elimination process.
There are more than 2.6 million children involved in the Little League Baseball and Softball program. In all, during the six weeks of tournament play, more than 25,000 games are played worldwide to determine the various World Series teams.
The museum, 525 Route 15 Highway, just south of Williamsport, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The hours change from Labor Day through Memorial Day to 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 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. For more information, call the museum at 570-326-3607, or click here for more information.