Welcome to Little League® - Baseball, Softball and Challenger

Partners & Offers

 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2001 > Dr. Creighton J. Hale To Retire At End Of Year

Dr. Creighton J. Hale To Retire At End Of Year

Dr. Creighton J. Hale

Read Dr. Hale’s comprehensive biography

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Dec. 20, 2001) – Dr. Creighton J. Hale, inventor, scientist, and Little League pioneer, will retire on Dec. 31, ending nearly a half-century of employment with the youth baseball and softball organization.

On Jan. 1, 1955, Dr. Hale was granted a leave of absence from Springfield (Mass.) College, where he was associate professor of physiology, to join the Little League Headquarters staff as director of research. He eventually became the president and chief executive officer of the world’s largest sports organization, and now holds the title of senior advisor. He never returned to his post at Springfield College.

“Little League was still a relatively new organization in those days, and I was deeply interested in how it affected children,” the Hardy, Neb., native said. “Once I became a member of the staff, I decided this was where I needed to be. My tenure with Little League has been an enriching, rewarding experience.” 

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)

As a scientist and inventor, Dr. Hale’s research led to the development of several types of baseball and softball 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. While he was president of Little League, from 1973 to 1994, Dr. Hale led Little League to begin a drug and alcohol education program, to create the Little League Challenger Division for mentally and physically disabled children, and to expand Little League from 31 countries to more than 80. Now, Little League has nearly 2.9 million baseball and softball players, and 1 million volunteers, in all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 other countries.

“My father (Walter O’Malley) served as a trustee of the Little League Foundation during its early years, and became good friends with Dr. Hale,” Peter O’Malley, president of the Little League Foundation and former president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, said. “I have been privileged to serve as the president of the foundation, and Dr. Hale is my good friend. Our family has admired Dr. Hale through these many years, not only for the contributions he has made to Little League, but for those he has made to the promotion of international baseball and the sport in general. He has been great for the game of baseball.”

“Pennsylvania is proud to be the home of Little League Baseball, and the adopted home state of Dr. Creighton Hale. Every summer, millions of sports fans the world over turn their attention to Williamsport for the Little League World Series and the joy it brings to the young athletes.  Dr. Hale has been a big part of making that event a true international celebration.”

- Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker

Dr. Hale has been recognized for his work by dozens of organizations, including the American Orthopaedic Society, the American Society for Testing Materials, and the U.S. Air Force. He also received appointments from Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan for various volunteer posts. Because of his notoriety in the field of head protection, Dr. Hale was one of those who helped to develop the Kevlar helmet used by the U.S. military today. In that capacity, he was Chairman of Technical Advisors of the National Academy of Science Committee on Military Helmets.

“I don’t think it is possible to measure the contributions Dr. Hale has made to Little League and society,” said Stephen D. Keener, who is Dr. Hale’s successor as president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball, Incorporated. “Nobody could have had a more dedicated mentor, and nobody has ever been more dedicated to this program.”

During Dr. Hale’s tenure as president, Little League also began the Little League Urban Initiative, designed to bring Little League to disadvantaged families.

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

“Dr. Hale has been my friend for many years, and he has made some great contributions to baseball,” Leonard Coleman, former president of the National League, said. “He led the way in efforts to make Little League more accessible to all children, particularly those in urban areas.”

Following graduation from Colgate University, Dr. Hale earned a Master’s Degree from Springfield. He specialized in the physiology of muscular activity at New York University, earning his Doctorate Degree.

Dr. Hale 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, a volunteer board.