Pieces of Our Past: January Week 2
Big League Baseball Team from Russia Broke New Ground with World Series Appearance
Although baseball became an Olympic sport in 1992, it was not until 1997 and 1999 that baseball teams from Russia reached the semifinals in the European Amateur Baseball Championships.
Not so for the country’s Big League Baseball program. Those teens were ahead of their adult counterparts, qualifying for the 1992 Big League Baseball World Series in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Their feat is recognized at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum with an official Big League Baseball World Series lineup card. Donated by Floyd V. Hull Jr., chairman of the league, the white sheet lists the players on the first Russian team to compete at the Big League Baseball World Series.
The game was played on Aug.16, 1992. The card lists the batting order by player number, name and position in blue ink. It also lists the balance of the team roster, manager and coach.
Printed on the card are the words “23rd Annual – 1992 BIG LEAGUE WORLD SERIES, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA.” An identical yellow carbon is attached.
The card is part of an exhibit in the Founder’s Room that encompasses Little League highlights since 1989.
Big League, a division of the Little League program for players 16-to-18 years of age, began in 1968 on an experimental basis.
The first Big League Baseball World Series was played in Winston-Salem, N.C., and featured teams from each of four United States Regions. A team from Charleston, W. Va., won the championship.
In the first year, 22 leagues and 14 teams chartered Big League Baseball programs. Today there are more than 864 leagues with 1,237 teams. There also are 439 Big League softball teams from 310 leagues.
This research was made possible through a General Operating Support Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
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. on 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. The museum also offers birthday parties and after-hours facility rentals.
The museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.
For more information, call the museum at (570) 326-3607; or visit http://www.littleleague.org/Learn_More/museum.htm.