Pieces of Our Past: October Week 5
Leading by Example: From Little League to the Major Leagues, Tom Seaver Made a Huge Impact on Children
When Tom Seaver played Little League in the mid-1950s, his dreams of becoming a Major Leaguer were just dreams, but even then his graciousness as a player was on par with his talent.
For all his contributions, Seaver was honored with the “Little League Player of the Year Award” for 1969. The award is displayed in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in Williamsport, Pa.
It contains the words “An Appreciation for Distinguished Service in Little League Baseball.” Alongside it, there is a photo of Mr. Seaver receiving the honor on March 5, 1970, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Five months earlier, his pitching had helped lead the New York Mets to their first World Series Championship.
When the museum established its Hall of Excellence, it was fitting that Mr. Seaver became the first person enshrined in 1988. Part of the tribute to him reads: “The manner in which he conducted himself on and off the playing field earned Tom Seaver the reputation as one of the game’s finest gentlemen and a positive influence for children worldwide.”
Mr. Seaver played in the Spartan Little League from 1954 to 1957 while growing up in Fresno, Calif. The museum also has a signed baseball by Mr. Seaver, who at one time served as the vice president of the museum’s Board of Directors.
Mr. Seaver played for the Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox during his 20-year Major League Baseball career. One of the greatest pitchers of his era, he won the National League Cy Young Award three times, was named to 12 All-Star teams and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. Only four pitchers – Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux – have won more Cy Young Awards than Mr. Seaver.
After retiring in 1986 with 3,640 career strikeouts – the sixth highest total in Major League Baseball history – Mr. Seaver worked as a broadcaster for the New York Yankees and then the Mets.
This research was made possible through a General Operating Support Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
On March 5, 1970, in St. Petersburg, Fla., future Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum inductee Tom Seaver, picture on left, was presented the Little League Player of the Year Award. The plaque reads “An Appreciation for Distinguished Service in Little League Baseball.” Five months earlier, Mr. Seaver’s pitching helped lead the New York Mets to the 1969 World Series Championship – the first world title in franchise history. In 1988, Mr. Seaver was the first Little League graduate to be enshrined in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum’s Hall of Excellence. The man in the center of the photo is the late Arnold S. White, Sr., who was Southern Region Director at the time.
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. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and other times by group appointment. After Memorial Day the hours will be expanded. Please call (570) 326-3607 for current hours or look online at www.LittleLeague.org/museum.
The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.
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.