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Little League World Series Team Sportsmanship Award to be Named for Jack Losch

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (June 10, 2004) – As a boy, Jack Losch was the center field on the first Little League Baseball World Championship team in 1947. As a young man, he established football rushing marks that are records to this day at the University of Miami, where he was All-America in his senior year in 1955. A year later, he became the first Little League Baseball World Series participant to play a professional sport when he was drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. He was an Air Force fighter pilot for three years, and he spent 37 years as a senior executive at General Motors.

“He really did all those amazing things, but one of the most important and endearing aspects of Jack Losch was his penchant for good sportsmanship,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “We believe we have found a way to help all of us remember that about Jack, but to let the generations to come know as well.”

Mr. Losch passed away in Williamsport, May 28, 2004, after a short illness. His family asked for donations to be made to Little League International in his memory.

At today’s Little League Baseball World Series Luncheon, Mr. Keener announced that the Jack Losch Little League Baseball World Series Team Sportsmanship Award would be presented to one Series team each year that best exemplifies the spirit that Jack Losch displayed on and off the playing field. Funds donated in Mr. Losch’s name will be used to underwrite the costs for the award.

Following the pool play round of the Series, input from World Series umpires, hosts, teams and media will be used to narrow the field, and one team will be ultimately be chosen by the Little League International Tournament Committee for the honor. Each team member will receive their team photo mounted on a plaque, as will the president of the local league and the district administrator.

All aspects of the team’s experience during the Little League Baseball World Series will be examined, including the team’s comportment in the dormitories, the dining hall, and the interview rooms – as well as their on-field actions.

“It really is not possible to fully recognize the kind of person Jack Losch was,” Mr. Keener said. “He constantly spoke of the outstanding sportsmanship that has become a hallmark of the Little League Baseball World Series. We hope this award will in some measure allow his legacy to live on.”

As a 12-year-old, Jack Losch went two-for-four for Williamsport’s Maynard Midgets in a 16-7 victory against Lock Haven, Pa., in the first Little League Baseball World Series championship game on Aug. 23, 1947.

“Those are the kind of memories that stick with you forever,” said Mr. Losch in 1996, when he was named honorary chairman of the Little League Baseball World Series 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee, just after retiring and moving back to the Williamsport area. “Playing in the Little League World Series gave me the confidence in myself to know there was nothing I couldn’t do.”

Mr. Losch went on to become a multi-sport star at Williamsport High School, and he earned a football scholarship to the University of Miami. An All-America running back, he still holds the Hurricanes’ team record for the longest run from scrimmage, 90 yards (in a 1955 game against Bucknell University). His 39.3-yards-per-carry average in that game also stands as a record at Miami. He led the team in receiving yards (206) and points scored (31) that year.

A first-round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers in 1956, Mr. Losch was picked 16 rounds ahead of future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr. Mr. Losch spent one year in the National Football League, then served in the U.S. Air Force for three years as a jet fighter pilot. He could not return to football because of an injury, so he went on to the world of business. He retired in 1996 after 37 years at General Motors, where he was Director of Fleet Services.

Mr. Losch’s brother, Joe, has been a Little League staff member for more than three decades, and is now the vice president of operations and corporate secretary for Little League Baseball and Softball.
In the next few weeks, Little League International will be considering an appropriate way to memorialize the life and contributions of Jack Losch to the Little League program.