Pieces of Our Past: May Week 4
Tom O’Malley’s baseball career took him from the United States to Japan. At one point, he lived in Montoursville, Pa., not far from Little League International in South Williamsport.
After playing Little League in Cherry Hill, N.J., O’Malley moved to Pennsylvania, and went on to star at Montoursville Area High School, just a few miles east of Williamsport and across the Susquehanna River from the Little League International complex.
Mr. O’Malley spent parts of nine seasons in the Major Leagues, playing with six baseball clubs. He turned in his best season in 1983. Then just 23 years of age, he posted career highs in several offensive categories while playing third base for the San Francisco Giants.
The next year, Mr. O’Malley was sent to the Minor Leagues, and later traded to the Chicago White Sox. He bounced around with several teams in subsequent years, only once getting 200 plate appearances in a season.
After the 1990 campaign, O’Malley opted to take his career in a new direction. He came to Japan at age 30, and immediately became a star for the Hanshin Tigers.
The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum has Mr. O’Malley’s Japanese baseball card on display in its Showcase Room. The card is among several items donated to the museum by Mr. O’Malley. The display case also features items from Mike Mussina, another famous graduate of Montoursville High School.
In 1993, Mr. O’Malley’s .329 batting average for Hanshin, led the Japanese Central League. He also hit with far more power in Japan than he did in the States. O’Malley socked 123 home runs in six seasons in Japan. The left-handed hitting infielder had totaled only 13 in the Major Leagues.
O’Malley joined the Yakult Swallows in 1995 and had an outstanding season, which earned him the Central League MVP award. Yakult won the 1995 Japan Series, the nation’s equivalent of the World Series. For his sensational postseason performance, O’Malley was named Japan Series MVP.
After retiring as a player in 1997, O’Malley managed the minor league Newark Bears for four seasons. He then became a scout for the Hanshin Tigers.
The Museum is located at 525 Route 15 Highway, just south of Williamsport and on the complex where the Little League Baseball World Series is played, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through June 30. From July 1 through Labor Day, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. From Labor Day through Memorial Day, the Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, except by group appointment. 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.