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Lamade Family Gift Allows Little League to Make Improvements to Howard J. Lamade Stadium
Thanks to a gift from the family of the stadium’s namesake, the covered section of seating will now extend to the ends of the stadium, adding 14,700 square feet of cover for a majority of the bench seating down both sidelines. Also, the number of individual seats with backs will be expanded from 584 to 1,530.
Although it is estimated that about 45,000 fans could fit into Lamade Stadium, including those on the terraced hills beyond the outfield fence, the total number of seats available is not known, since admission is free and most seating during the Little League Baseball World Series is first-come, first-served. The improvements will add 946 individual seats with backs (matching the existing seats in the section behind home plate), while resulting in an overall reduction of a few hundred bench seats. The number of seats for the families traveling with the teams will not be reduced.
Howard J. Lamade is the only person to have served on both the first corporate board of directors of Little League Baseball, and the first board of trustees of the Little League Foundation. The first board of the newly incorporated Little League met at the New York Athletic Club on Jan. 6, 1950. The foundation was formed in 1956.
“Howard J. Lamade was instrumental in Little League being where it is today, both in terms of its location here in North Central Pennsylvania, and as the world’s largest and most respected youth sports program,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of the Little League International Board of Directors. “Mr. Lamade’s family asked how they could help with any improvements, so these enhancements would not have been possible without their generosity. The Little League International Board of Directors is delighted that his family has come forward with this thoughtful and appreciated gift, and we look forward to having the family with us for rededication ceremony during the 2006 Little League Baseball World Series.”
Mr. Lamade passed away in 1958 at the age of 67. In 1959, the Lamade family donated funds to the Williamsport Foundation, used for the purchase and donation of the property in the Borough of South Williamsport, where Little League’s headquarters has been ever since.
“Going all the way back to the 19th century, the Lamade family has been one of the most prominent and philanthropic in the history of the greater Williamsport/Lycoming County area,” Mr. Keener said. “Our community, and Little League, is fortunate to have had such a long association with such a wonderful family.”
Howard J. Lamade was the son of Clara Ann Rhen and Dietrick Lamade, who bought the Grit newspaper in 1884 and turned it into one of the best-known publications in the U.S. Published and printed in Williamsport, the Grit grew from a local circulation of 4,000 to more than 1 million nationally, and had one of the highest circulations of any U.S. newspaper for several decades.
Howard J. Lamade earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1913 from the University of Missouri, then joined Grit as a clerk. In 1917, he was named business manager, and in 1919 he was named secretary. He joined Grit Publishing Company’s board of directors in 1941, and was elected vice president and secretary in 1943. When he passed away, the weekly Grit had a circulation of 1.16 million.
The field built in 1959 for the World Series in South Williamsport was originally called Howard J. Lamade Memorial Field. It was renamed Howard J. Lamade Stadium when the old wood and steel stands were razed and a concrete stadium constructed in 1968. Extra seating was added in 1972, and the first night game at the stadium was played on Aug. 24, 1992.
Office space was added below the seating areas of Lamade Stadium in 2001. Also in 2001, the stadium was made compliant with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Tickets and parking for the annual Little League Baseball World Series are free. Fans may enter a lottery conducted from Jan. 1 to the end of February, for tickets to the championship game that year. Seating in most sections of Lamade Stadium for other World Series games is first-come, first-served. Seating on the terraced hills beyond the outfield fence is always available for any game, including the world championship.
Construction at Lamade Stadium began last week and is expected to conclude in June. The contractor is J.B. Gibbons Construction, Inc., of Williamsport.