For more than 60 years, Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, has become the ultimate summertime destination for generations of Little Leaguers® and Little League® fans.
Originally called Howard J. Lamade Memorial Field, the location and baselines for the field were first laid out for the 1959 the Little League Baseball® World Series and consisted of simply four bases surrounded by wooden bleachers borrowed from nearby Williamsport (Pa.) Area High School. Nearly 10 years later, in 1968, Memorial Field was renamed Howard J. Lamade Stadium when the original wood and steel stands were razed, and a concrete stadium was constructed.
For decades since that first event in 1959, the home of the Little League Baseball World Series has served as a home for positive memories and exciting experiences, however it also continues to serve as a tribute to one of Little League’s most notable alumni.
Only weeks after the conclusion of the 2001 World Series Tournament, the world was shocked by the horrific events on September 11. In the aftermath, it was discovered that one of the first responders on that day – New York City Firefighter Michael Cammarata – perished during the rescue and recovery efforts. Mr. Cammarata played in the 1991 Little League Baseball World Series for Staten Island (N.Y.) Little League.
A year after the tragedy, during the 2002 Little League Baseball World Series, Mr. Cammarata’s family were invited as guests of Little League International, as the World Series retired his iconic No. 11 jersey. Today, Mr. Cammarata’s No. 11 is proudly displayed on the right-field wall at Lamade Stadium to honor his commitment and ultimate sacrifice, and his legacy is forever enshrined as a member of the Little League Hall of Excellence.
In 2006, the Stadium underwent its most recent and significant renovation with the replacement and expansion of the outfield fences to a uniform 225 feet from home plate, an extension of the roof to the end of the grandstand seating, and replacement of the bench seating with individual seats. In centerfield, a hearth was constructed above the centerfield wall to hold the bust of stadium namesake, Howard J. Lamade.
Mr. Lamade, the long-time publisher of Grit, a national publication geared toward rural America of the mid-20th century and printed in Williamsport, donated the land where Little League Baseball, Incorporated would eventually build the now iconic venue.
Inside the stadium, various media outlets from around the world covering the World Series work in the press area named in honor of the “Dean” of Williamsport area sportswriters, Raymond J. Keyes, who was a veteran journalist and beloved sports director of Williamsport’s daily newspaper, the Sun-Gazette. For nearly 50 years, Mr. Keyes told the stories of Little League through his column, “Sun Rays,” which introduced the residents of North Central Pennsylvania to Little League Baseball in 1939.
In 2018, after nearly a decade, Lamade Stadium received a full resurfacing that including installation of new irrigation heads and new sod to provide the best possible experience to the players from around the world each summer. That same year, the stadium was named a 2018 Field of Distinction by the Keystone Athletic Field Managers Organization (KAFMO) and is tended to year-round by Rob Guthrie, Little League International Turf and Groundskeeper.
With permanent stadium seating for 3,300 spectators, the stadium also includes terraced hills beyond the outfield fence that accommodate upwards of 30,000 more on blankets, lawn chairs, and grass along the iconic hill, most well-known for the thousands of children who slide down its hill each August.
On August 19, 2011, Lamade Stadium set a single-game attendance record during a match-up between La Grange, Kentucky, and Clinton County, Pennsylvania, with 41,848 people in the stands and on the iconic hill. It was later broken on August 29, 2015, when Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, defeated Pearland, Texas, with an estimated 45,716 in attendance.
Upon arrival to the Little League International Complex each August, Little League Baseball World Series participants from around the world are warmly greeted by the bellowing lights of Lamade Stadium as they look down on the field from the Creighton J. Hale International Grove, before ultimately living out their dream of playing on this hallowed ground.
For families, friends, League Officials, volunteers, and fans, visiting Howard J. Lamade Stadium and the Little League Baseball World Series has become a bucket-list experience, and continues to bring out the kid in everyone who comes near it.
NOTE: As the world gears up to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Little League Baseball® World Series (LLBWS) in August 2022, Little League® International will feature content such as this in a series of franchises that highlights some of the key moments, memories, and people that have made the LLBWS one of the most iconic sporting events in the world. For more information, visit LittleLeague.org/75.