Pieces of Our Past
Magazine Article Transforms Little League from Small-Town Curiosity to National Obsession
In Sullivan County, Pa., about 25 miles northeast of Williamsport, Little League Baseball experienced a milestone event in 1948.
Little League gained national attention in this remote location when E.H. Brandt, a senior editor for the Saturday Evening Post attended an exhibition game that was meant to spur interest in the small town of Dushore.
Guy Baldwin, an organizer of a new Little League in Sullivan County, requested Carl E. Stotz, the founder of Little League, bring a team from Williamsport to play a game against local boys.
Mr. Brandt, who was vacationing nearby, was invited by Mr. Baldwin’s wife, Peg, to attend the exhibition. He was so impressed with the event that he assigned a writer and a photographer to attend the national tournament and tell the Little League story.
The result was an article titled “Small Boy’s Dream Come True,” which appeared in the May 14, 1949, issue of the Post. Writer Harry Paxton wrote, “Already the idea had captivated thousands of boys and men in hundreds of communities. This is probably only the beginning.”
Along with Saturday Evening Post photographer Bill Strout’s pictures, the story exposed more than four million subscribers to Little League. Deluged by inquiries, Mr. Stotz later said that no other promotional influence was as important in Little League’s history.
From 1949 until 1953, the number of leagues doubled every year.
The article, and other issues of the Post, and magazines like Harper’s Weekly, Collier’s: The National Weekly and Farm and Home are among the periodicals in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum’s collection.
The article and magazines featuring youth baseball players on their covers are on display next to the Gallery of Achievement.
The World of Little League®: Peter J. McGovern Museum and Official Store is located at 525 Route 15 Highway, South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It is 15 miles north of Interstate 80 (exit 210) and two miles south of Route 220/Interstate 180.
The World of Little League is open daily from 9 am until 5 pm with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter. General admission will be $5. Children under 4 years old are admitted free, and children 5-12 are admitted for $2. The senior admission fee is $3, for those 62 and older. Discounts are available for large groups booking in advance.
For additional information, please call The World of Little League at 570-326-3607. Large groups and tours are welcomed. Scheduling in advance is preferred with discounts admission rates available. Self-guided tours of the Little League International complex are also available.