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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2001 > Dr. Creighton J. Hale

Dr. Creighton J. Hale

Dr. Creighton J. Hale

Dr. Creighton J. Hale is one of the most qualified leaders in the field of sports safety research and an innovative administrator who has greatly contributed to molding Little League Baseball into the world’s largest and most respected organized youth sports program. A native of Hardy, Neb., Dr. Hale is in his 47th year of service to Little League Baseball.

A pioneer in the development of youth sports safety equipment, such as the double ear-flap batter’s helmet, catcher’s helmet, chest protector with throat guard, and the non-wood baseball bat, Dr. Hale has contributed significantly to the phenomenal growth of Little League. He initiated and implemented a drug and alcohol education program; the Little League Challenger Division for disabled youngsters; international expansion of Little League to more than 80 countries around the world; a traffic safety initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation; an anti-spit tobacco initiative in partnership with the National Cancer Institute; and the Little League Urban Initiative, with a goal of bringing organized baseball and softball to disadvantaged families.

Dr. Hale experimented with various types and compositions of helmets, resulting in the radial-ribbed, double-ear flap batting belmets used today.  This photo was taken in the late 1950s.
(click on above image to view a larger version)

Following graduation from Colgate University, Dr. Hale earned a Master’s Degree from Springfield (Mass.) College. He specialized in the physiology of muscular activity while earning his Doctorate Degree from New York University. While serving as an Associate Professor of Physiology at Springfield College in 1953, Dr. Hale recognized the need for research into the safety requirements of Little League Baseball and the effects of athletic competition on young boys. In 1955, he was granted a leave of absence from Springfield College and joined the Little League Baseball Headquarters staff as its Director of Research. In 1956, he became Assistant to the President, and two years later, Dr. Hale was named Vice President of Little League Baseball. In 1971, Dr. Hale was selected as Executive Vice President, a position he held for two years before becoming the second President in Little League Baseball history. In 1983, Dr. Hale was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer.

After grooming his successor (Stephen D. Keener) as President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Hale was named Senior Advisor to Mr. Keener in November, 1996. During his tenure as President, Little League opened full-service regional centers in Waco, Texas, Indianapolis, Bristol, Conn., and Kutno, Poland. 

After becoming President of Little League Baseball, Dr. Hale has served as the Marburg Lecturer on “Significant Trends and Complex Barriers in the Engineering of Protective Sports Equipment;” has received Presidential appointments to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness in both the Eisenhower and Nixon Administrations; has become a Fellow in the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation; has become a Charter Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine; has served as a scientific investigator in developing the infantry pack used by the United States Army; was named the Williamsport Junior Chamber of Commerce Young Man of the Year in 1959; has become a Fellow in the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM); served as Chairman of the Committee on Consumer Product Safety; received the ASTM Award of Merit and Meritorious Service Award for developing and promoting standards for protective sports equipment; received the Robert J. Painter Memorial Award for his leadership in research; and was one of seven recipients of the “1981 Professionalism in Communications” award from the Advertising Communications Times.

Dr. Hale speaks at a White House South Lawn ceremony in 1989, honoring the 50th anniversary of the founding of Little League.  President George W. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush are at left.
(click on above image to view a larger version)

In 1976, he was elected to membership in the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, which recognized his contributions as an administrator, inventor, researcher and lecturer in the field of sports medicine, and in 2000 he received the prestigious James R. Andrews, M.D. Award for Excellence in Baseball Sports Medicine.

Because of his contributions to the prevention of head injuries, Dr. Hale served as Chairman of the Technical Advisors of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science Committee on Military Helmets. After six years of research, the new Kevlar helmet was successfully field tested and is in use by American military service members. An additional resource created by Dr. Hale’s research was the development of a lightweight bullet-proof vest.

Dr. Hale has served as a Presidential Appointee to President Ronald Reagan Administration’s White House Conference for a Drug-Free America. He has been listed in America Men of Science; Who’s Who in the East; and Who’s Who in American Education. He has received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, and Collegiate Baseball’s Health and Safety Award.

The U.S. Air Force honored Dr. Hale with the 1993 American Spirit Award in recognition of his outstanding support of the American way of life. USA Baseball, the governing body for amateur baseball in the U.S., presented Dr. Hale with the William P. “Dutch” Fehring Award at the 1993 Golden Spike Award Ceremonies in recognition of his lifelong dedication to the nationwide development of amateur baseball. He was presented with the Rawlings Golden Glove Award in March 1995 in recognition of his 40 years of dedication to the Little League program and was elected to the West Branch Susquehanna Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

Dr. Hale, who will retire from Little League on Dec. 31, 2001, lives in Williamsport with his wife Beverly. He plans to remain active with Little League issues on the Little League Baseball International Board of Directors.

Little League Baseball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.9 million players and 1 million volunteers in all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 other countries.