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Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and Fallen War Hero to be Enshrined in Little League Museum Hall of Excellence

General Peter Pace

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (August 12, 2003) – Joining the likes of President George W. Bush, actor/director Kevin Costner and several Baseball Hall of Famers, the highest-ranking U.S. Marine and a fallen soldier from Operation Iraqi Freedom will be enshrined in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence.

The ceremony will take place before the 7:30 p.m. U.S. Championship Game of the 57th annual Little League Baseball World Series, on Aug. 23 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. Gen. Peter Pace, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and graduate of the Teaneck (N.J.) Southern Little League will be enshrined. Also being enshrined (posthumously) is Army Staff Sgt. Wilbert Davis, a graduate of the Belmont Heights Little League of Tampa, Fla., and a participant in the 1975 Little League Baseball World Series.

Staff Sgt. Davis, assigned to the Army’s Third Infantry Division, died in action on April 3 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His family will accept the enshrinement.

“Little League Baseball is privileged that two of our nation’s warriors will receive this tribute,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball. “Enshrinement in the Hall of Excellence is the highest honor Little League can bestow, but it is Little League that is truly honored. For the selfless service to our nation of Gen. Pace and Staff Sgt. Davis, for all those who have served before, and for those serving today, we are eternally grateful.”

Staff Sgt. Wilbert Davis

In 1968, as a U.S. Naval Academy graduate (Class of ’67), then-2nd Lt. Pace’s first assignment during the Vietnam War was to help lead a platoon of Marines dislodge an enemy force four times their strength in the city of Hue. He subsequently served several assignments during his distinguished career, including Commander, Marine Forces Europe. He is the sixth officer (and the first Marine) to become Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs – the second-highest attainable position in the U.S. military.

Staff Sgt. Davis also made the military his career after his Little League days ended. He perished when his vehicle came under attack while en route to Baghdad. Now, Headstone 7867 in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery marks the final resting place of Sgt. Davis, alongside thousands of this nation’s heroes.

The Little League Baseball World Series will be played beginning Friday and ending Aug. 24. Enshrinement in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence is conducted annually for a Little League graduate (or graduates) who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen profession and exemplify the values learned as children in Little League Baseball. Hall of Excellence Enshrinees are selected through a defined voting system by the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Advisory Board.

Below is a list of all enshrinees of the Hall of Excellence of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, with year of enshrinement in parentheses.

  • KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR (1992), member of the NBA Hall of Fame, played Little League Baseball in the Inwood Little League in New York City.
  • DAVE BARRY (1998), Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist/author, played in the Armonk (N.Y.) Little League.
  • DON BEAVER (1999), North Carolina businessman and owner of several sports franchises, played in the 1952 Little League World Series for Mooresville, N.C.
  • BILL BRADLEY (1989), of New Jersey, former Senator, Rhodes Scholar and member of the NBA’s Hall of Fame, was a Little Leaguer in Crystal City, Mo.
  • GEORGE W. BUSH (2001), 43rd President of the United States, played Little League at Central Little League, Midland, Texas.
  • MICHAEL CAMMARATA (2002), firefighter, played in the 1991 Little League Baseball World Series for the South Shore Little League team of Staten Island. Ten years later, he was last seen alive while entering the burning World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
  • LEONARD S. COLEMAN (1996), President of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, played Little League in Montclair, N.J.
  • KEVIN COSTNER (2000), a graduate of Saticoy Little League in Ventura, Calif., went on to receive two Academy Awards, and is one of the most highly respected figures in the motion picture industry.
  • TONY DUNGY (1998), head coach for the Indianapolis Colts and one of the most respected gentlemen in pro football, played in the Southeast Little League of Jackson, Minn.
  • DR. VINCENT FORTANASCE (1994) Board Certified Psychiatrist and Neurologist as well as clinical professor at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, is a graduate of the Elmont Little League of Queens, N.Y.
  • RUDOLPH GIULIANI (2002), former mayor of New York City, played Little League in the Garden City South Little League in Long Island, N.Y.
  • BILLY HUNTER (2000), a player on the Delaware Township (N.J.) Little League team that advanced to the 1955 Little League Baseball World Series, went on to star in football at Syracuse University, the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. He is executive director of the NBA Players Association.
  • HALE IRWIN (1993), scholar/athlete at the University of Colorado, one of the most successful members of the PGA; graduate of the Baxter Springs, Kan., Little League.
  • DALE MURPHY (1995), a graduate of the Tulatin Little League, Portland, Ore., is one of the finest, most-respected Major League players of the last half of the 20th century.
  • DR. STORY MUSGRAVE (1994), a NASA astronaut who has flown more than 17,000 hours, is a Boston area Little League graduate.
  • DAN O’BRIEN (1997), an Olympic decathlon gold-medalist, former world-record holder and champion of adoption-related causes, played Little League in South Suburban Little League in Klamath Fall, Ore.
  • JIM PALMER (1994), three-time Cy Young Award winning Major League pitcher, Baseball Hall of Famer, analyst for ABC Sports, is a graduate of the Beverly Hills, Calif., Little League.
  • MICHAEL PLADUS (1999), National Principal of the Year (Interboro High School, Prospect Park, Pa., 1999), graduated from the Shenandoah North (Pa.) Little League.
  • DAN QUAYLE (1990), former U.S. Senator and Vice President of the United States, played baseball in the Hoosier Little League of Huntington, Ind., during the mid-1950s.
  • CAL RIPKEN, JR. (1996), baseball’s all-time ironman, played Little League Baseball at West Asheville (N.C.) Little League.
  • NOLAN RYAN (1991), Major League Baseball’s all-time strike out record holder and Baseball Hall of Famer is a graduate of the Alvin Little League in Alvin, Texas.
  • MIKE SCHMIDT (1991), Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman, is a graduate of North Riverdale Little League in Dayton, Ohio.
  • TOM SEAVER (1988), Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, is a graduate of the Spartan Little League of Fresno, Calif.
  • TOM SELLECK (1991), accomplished actor and entertainer, played in the Sherman Oaks Little League in California.
  • BRIAN SIPE (1999), former quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, played in the Northern Little League, El Cajon, Calif., and in the 1961 Little League World Series.
  • DR. ROBERT SLOAN (1996), President of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, played at Western Little League in Abilene, Texas.
  • BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (1997), award-winning singer/songwriter and social activist, played Little League in Freehold, N.J.
  • DR. ROBERT STRATTA (2000), who pitched a no-hitter in the 1967 Little League Baseball World Series for North Roseland Little League of Chicago, is professor of surgery at the University of Tennessee – Memphis.
  • GEORGE WILL (1992), journalist, political analyst and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, played Little League in Champaign, Ill.