Little League International Hails the Election of Walter O’ Malley, Bowie Kuhn to the Baseball Hall of Fame
As owner of the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Dodgers, Mr. O’Malley began the westward shift of Major League Baseball when he moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1957.
Mr. O’Malley was an original member of the Little
League Foundation (chartered in 1955), and remained as a Foundation
Trustee until he passed away in 1979. Mr. O’Malley’s son, Peter has
been a Little League Foundation Trustee since 1980, and has served
as Foundation president.
“The Little League Foundation has been fortunate over the years to have the active involvement of distinguished leaders of Major League Baseball,” Howard Paster, president of the Little League Foundation, said. “Our past president and current trustee Peter O'Malley is the son of Walter O'Malley, and we are delighted that Peter’s father has been named to the Hall of Fame. Also, the late commissioner Bowie Kuhn was a trustee for many years. We extend congratulations to the families of these two Hall of Fame inductees.”
Mr. Kuhn, elected commissioner by a unanimous vote on Feb. 4, 1969, was a Little League Foundation Trustee from 1996 until his death earlier this year.
“Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Kuhn were influential forces in the maturation of Major League Baseball, and were equally dedicated supporters of Little League,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “I was proud to see that the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee recognized and appreciated the impact that these gentlemen have had on the history of baseball in this country and around the world.”
Mr. O'Malley and Mr. Kuhn were among five managers or executives to be elected for induction by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2008 Veterans Committee. The others were former managers Billy Southworth and Dick Williams, and former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss.
Peter Mr. O’Malley joined Commissioner Kuhn in several Little League endeavors, including Little League Baseball and Softball’s “World or Opportunity” capital campaign.
“My congratulations go out to the families of Bowie Kuhn and Walter O’’Malley,” Mr. Keener said “Their efforts on behalf of the Little League Foundation helped to guide our program through its own growth and expansion, while providing opportunities for children to play Little League throughout the world. This is a well-deserved honor.”
During his 15-year tenure as commissioner of Major League Baseball (1969-84), Mr. Kuhn oversaw the creation of free agency and divisional play, the introduction of the designated hitter into the American League, was an influential voice in the expansion of Major League Baseball from 20 to 26 teams, and backed the playing of World Series night games.
In 1983, while MLB Commissioner, Mr. Kuhn traveled to Williamsport, Pa., home of Little League Baseball and Softball, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Little League Baseball World Series championship game.
Mr. Kuhn had a prominent role in the “World of Opportunity” capital campaign which raised more than $20 million for the construction of a second Little League Baseball World Series stadium (Little League Volunteer Stadium opened in 2001), expansion of the Little League Baseball World Series tournament from eight to 16 teams, and the establishment of Little League regional facilities in Waco, Texas, and Kutno, Poland.
The Little League Foundation guides the long-range ambitions of the program and provides financial integrity for the Little League movement. Much of the support for Little League operations has been provided through the Little League Foundation.
Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Kuhn join Tom Seaver as the only trustees of the Little League Foundation to also be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.