Pieces of Our Past: January Week 2
In Memory of: Little League Jersey Offers Reminder of Special, Tragic Events
A baseball jersey, bearing the letters “VFW” is more than an artifact in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport, Pa.
The donation is a tribute to a member of the Maynard Midgets who fatally was injured on his way home from a baseball game in April 1949.
Mrs. Gloria Whitman of Hummelstown, Pa., said her husband, Clyde, made the donation in memory of his brother, Robert (Bobby) Whitman, who was riding his bicycle from the Maynard field when it collided with a truck. He died instantly of his injuries. At that time, the Whitman family lived in the 700 block of Walnut Street, in Williamsport, close to the Maynard field.
Although both Whitman boys played Little League, they were on separate teams, she said. She believes that Bobby had hit a home run shortly before he was killed in the accident.
About 20 years ago, Mrs. Whitman said Bobby Whitman was memorialized and the family was presented with a plaque during a ceremony at what was then the Maynard Little League field.
The Maynard Midgets won the first Little League World Series, known as the National Series, in 1947. During that game, the Maynard All-Stars wore jerseys from each team’s sponsor – the Veteran of Foreign Wars; Sears Roebuck Company; Mosser Leather and Forty et Eight Club (also a veteran’s group). The sponsors had purchased the players new jerseys when the season started in June.
In 1948, all of the uniforms worn in the Series were sponsored by Keds, the official shoe of Little League. After that point, uniforms worn in Series competition listed a state or regional name.
The Museum is located at 525 Route 15 Highway, just south of Williamsport, 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 hours are extended during the summer season. 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. Join us at Facebook.com/LittleLeagueMuseum or Twitter.com/llbmuseum.