Pieces of Our Past: October 3
Little League World Series Was Longest-Running Event on ‘ABC’s Wide World of Sports’
“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport … the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat … the human drama of athletic competition … This is ABC's Wide World of Sports!”
Those familiar words dramatically narrated by broadcaster Jim McKay, and sports clips, announced the beginning of the long-running sports anthology show on American television, which included airing Little League Baseball World Series championship games at Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pa., since 1963.
The Little League Baseball World Series was the longest-running event on Wide World of Sports. It holds the record for the oldest continuous relationship between a major sporting body and a single network.
Although Wide World of Sports did not carry the Little League Baseball World Series live until 1989, it did turn to color starting in 1966.
A banner with the show’s logo is among the artifacts on display at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum. The familiar black, white and red logo hangs in the museum’s lobby appropriately next to a picture of the banner that is included in a photographic mural of the 1982 Little League Baseball World Series championship game.
Wide World of Sports was a weekly staple on ABC from 1961 to 1998, although the title was used for general sports programs through 2006. It is still used occasionally today – including the championship game of the 2008 Little League Baseball World Series.
The rise of cable television offered more outlets for sports programming and in 2006, “ESPN on ABC” ultimately replaced most of its programming.
Mr. McKay, who passed away earlier this year, was among the ABC sports commentators at the Little League Baseball World Series games. Other “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” commentators announcing the championship games included Mickey Mantle, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver, Red Barber, Curt Gowdy, Brent Musburger and Keith Jackson.
The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, 525 Route 15 Highway, just south of Williamsport, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and by group appointment from Labor Day through Memorial Day. From Memorial Day to June 30, the museum is open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. From July1 to Labor Day, the museum hours are: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. 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 www.LittleLeague.org/learn/museum.htm. Friend the Museum on Facebook, at: www.facebook.com/LittleLeagueMuseum or follow on Twitter, at: www.Twitter.com/LittleLeagueMuseum