Pieces of Our Past: May Week 2
How the patch for the Little League World Series Umpires Alumni International came to be is one of the many stories that are told at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport, Pa.
The museum has the actual design that was submitted for manufacture, the first test patch,and the final version of the patch still in use today.
The items were donated by John Semander of Houston, Texas, who umpired at the 1970 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
That was the year that the Little League Baseball World Series Umpires formed an alumni group and developed the distinctive patch.
Also in 1970, the Little League Baseball World Series umpires were invited to attend the World Series Banquet for the first time. Previously, they “stayed in the background,” Mr. Semander, one of the 12 men who umpired in those games, and the man who designed the alumni patch, said.
Mr. Semander, an engineer with Shell Oil Company, represented the South Region when he was in Pennsylvania for the Series. Howard Gair, an umpire consultant for Little League, who spent 42 years with Little League Baseball and Softball, asked Mr. Semander to design the alumni patch.
In an effort to espouse Little League traditions, the group was named Little League World Series Umpires Alumni International. Mr. Semander said the name was altered from “Umpires Alumni Association” to “Umpires Alumni International” to make sure it was clear that the umpires were, and are, volunteers.
Mr. Semander is also remembered in Little League Baseball World Series history as the Umpire in Chief in the first back-to-back, no-hit, no-run games.
According to Barry Rake, Memorabilia Chairman and a former alumni President, the men and women who officiate at any of the eight Little League Baseball or Softball World Series games are the only people who are eligible to join the group. Today, it requires nearly 100 volunteer umpires to staff all of Little League’s championship games.
The officials are each presented a plaque from Umpires Alumni International in an on-field ceremony and offered the opportunity to join the organization. A member of the Umpires Alumni International attends each of the Series.
The mission of the umpire group, Mr. Rake said, “Is to do what we can to help leagues train and educate umpires.”
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. Friday and Saturday; and by group appointment from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Its summer season begins after Memorial Day and the Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through June 31. 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. 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.