Pieces of Our Past: November Week 2
Beast from the East
Teams that reach the Little League World Series often have a good luck charm, since most admit having some luck go their way on the road to Williamsport. Some teams have lucky haircuts. Some teams have lucky clothing, but one team had a lucky “beast.”
In 1998, World Series champion Tom’s River (N.J.) East Little League became known as the “Beast from the East,” partly because it was from the New Jersey, but mostly because of a stuffed animal gorilla that hung faithfully in the team’s dugout during its World Series run.
The “Beast from the East” was won at an amusement park in Lake Compounse, near Bristol, Conn., while the team was participating in the Eastern Region Tournament.
“The Beast” became the lucky charm for the team throughout the tournament and in many ways represented the team’s style of play. The kid’s toy caught the eye of the television audience and soon enough “The Beast” became a national story.
Tom’s River East Little League defeated Kashima, Japan, 12-9, in the World Series Championship Game. The game was memorable for its excellent pitching and a combined eleven home runs.
At the conclusion of the World Series, the team donated “The Beast” to the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, and its now on display in the museum’s World Series Room along with other artifacts donated by championship teams.
The Peter J. McGovern Little League 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. After Labor Day in September, the hours change to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. 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. The museum also offers birthday parties and after-hours facility rentals. For more information, call the museum at (570) 326-3607; or visit www.littleleague.org/Learn_More/museum.htm.