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Pieces of Our Past: October 2008 - Week 1

Pieces of Our Past: October 2008 - Week 1

Late Williamsport Newspaper Sports Editor Served as Major Little League Promoter


An estimated crowd of 36,500 cheered with thunderous applause as a team of 11 and 12-year-olds from Kirkland, Wash., defeated Chinese Taipei in the 1982 Little League Baseball World Series championship game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pa.

That 6-0 victory by Kirkland National Little League broke Chinese Taipei’s 31-game World Series winning streak. Kirkland came into the series championship on Aug. 28, 1982, with a record of 15-0, while Chinese Taipei had a 17-1 record.

Raymond J. Keyes, sports editor of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, was there to record it.

Mr. Keyes was the only newspaper reporter to cover all of the Little League World Series until his death on Dec. 11, 1988. In fact, he was instrumental in helping Little League’s founder, Carl E. Stotz, devise the name for what has become the largest youth sports organization in the world through his column “Sun Rays.”

Following his passing, Little League International honored Mr. Keyes by naming the press area at Lamade Stadium “Ray Keyes Press Section.”

During his lifetime, Mr. Keyes also promoted Little League throughout the world, writing articles for noted magazines including Reader’s Digest and Women’s Day. He also served as an official scorer for many World Series games.

Mr. Keyes’ scorebook holds a place of honor in the World Series Room in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum. Placed next to it is a photograph of Mr. Keyes at work covering a Little League Baseball World Series game with his wife, Elsie.

That scorebook not only contains information about Little League Baseball World Series games, but also has statistics from Philadelphia Phillies games, Little League district playoffs and other baseball games the long-time editor had attended.

Before his death at the age of 72, Mr. Keyes received the inaugural W. Howard Hartman Little League Friendship Award, which he called the greatest award he had ever received.

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.