Peter J. McGovern
Little League Museum & Howard J. Lamarde
July 29, 2003
After seeing a minor league game in
Oneonta, New York, it was time for us to take a step down even
further on the skill level, by driving to Williamsport, Pennsylvania
to see the Little League Museum and field of the annual Little
League World Series (Howard J Lamade Stadium). One could argue that
we would go even lower the next two games by seeing the Pirates and
Mets. This was definitely worth the trip, but it was unfortunate
that we got here a few weeks before the actual Little League World
going through the museum, we did get to learn about the history of
the tournament, which began as a 3-team Pennsylvania-only tournament
in 1939, that slowly grew to first include other teams from the
Northeast, then from around the country and finally to include teams
from around the world. This last part is displayed beautifully
within the museum with flags from all the countries that partake in
Little League Baseball, which consists of players 12 and under.
The Museum itself is a beautiful
redbrick building that opened at the sight of the playing fields in
1982. Within the lobby is a 2/3 size rendition of Lamade Stadium,
which also includes a tribute to broadcasting great Vin Skully.
Within the Museum are several rooms and theaters dedicated to the
history of the Little League World Series. There is a showcase room
which displays various highlights (which changes during the year) of
past World Series including some players that went on to make it to
the Major Leagues, such as Lloyd McLendon and Sean Burroughs.
Making it to The Hall of Excellence signifies the highest honor to
little league graduates, while the World Series room is dedicated to
highlights from past World Series. In addition to the tributes to
past highlights, there are the Play it Safe and the Basics room
dedicated to teaching the rules and safety needed for the players.
It is an education aspect for parents, coaches, and players that is
worth a look. Finally, there is the Play Ball room, with enables
you to enjoy interactive pitching and hitting displays.
Stadium is small, but beautiful and perfect for its intended use.
Considering that the dimensions of the field are much smaller than
the Major Leagues, it makes sense that the stadium is much smaller.
12-year olds could get lost from view in a Major League stadium. In
fact, the stadium is so small that the electronic scoreboard is
located beyond the stadium on a hill, which can be seen from both
inside and outside of the stadium. Therefore, there are not a whole
lot of seats for spectators, but the stadium is at the bottom of a
hillside, where thousands of additional spectators can sit and watch
the game. During the World Series, you can see how packed the grass
is with spectators. When we took our walk around the field there
was a pick-up game going on, so it was good see some action on the
field during our visit. You also see the many side fields that are
used during the World Series and other tournaments to the sides of
Lamade Stadium. I wish I had the opportunity to play here.
We originally intended to spend the
night in Williamsport, but since we finished our tour of the museum
and stadium early enough, we drove up to Pittsburgh to catch a movie
and have an easy start to our day in Pittsburgh for the Pirates game
and tour of PNC Park.
Bottom line – This is a “must-see”
stop on a stadium trip, but even more exciting to do so during the
Basic trip facts:
-Stadium # 29.5
-Old Stadium Sites visited – None (Total – 19)
-Under construction Stadium Sites visited – None (Total – 2)
-Miles traveled – 430 via Car (Totals: Driving – 17,845, Subway -
20, Air - 3,196, Total – 21,061)
-States, provinces, Districts and/or commonwealths passed through –
New York, Pennsylvania (Totals: States – 48, Provinces – 2,
Districts – 1, Commonwealths - 1)
-Seats – Grass Field
-Attendance – 2
-Home team record to date – 19 wins, 14 losses
-Record of “team I was routing for” to date – 14 wins, 19 losses
-Lodging – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania