World of Little League to Feature Items from Carl E. Stotz Collection
The next year, on June 6, 1939, the first Little League game was played. Only three teams existed at that time, and nobody could know how if the program would survive past its first year.
It is believed that more than 30 million people in more than 100 countries have played Little League since that day. More than 170,000 teams are playing this season.
When the World of Little League opens to the public on June 15, visitors will find a completely renovated interactive museum experience. They also will find some items never before displayed at Little League International – select artifacts from the Carl E. Stotz Archives. Mr. Stotz’s daughter, Karen Stotz Myers, was on hand to unveil these heirlooms at a news conference held earlier today at the World of Little League: Peter J. McGovern Museum.
“We are grateful to the Stotz family, particularly his daughters Karen Stotz Myers and Monya Lee Stotz Adkins, for making this possible,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Having some of the items related to the very earliest days of Little League on loan to the World of Little League will allow tens of thousands of children and families to see these artifacts each year.”
Karen Stotz-Myers is pictured here with the first Little League base, and home plate carved by her father, Little League Founder Carl E Stotz. Both items are among donations from the Carl Stotz Collection on loan from the Stotz family.
- The first Little League home plate that Mr. Stotz carved from rubber he found in his father’s basement
- A whistle he used to gather the boys for the first tryouts
- The first Little League first-base bag that was sewn together by Mr. Stotz’s sister, Laurabelle
- The first catcher’s mask used in Little League, and the receipt for it
- An early drawing by Mr. Stotz of the Little League emblem
- The first constitution of Little League, listing the Board of Directors that included the first female volunteer in Little League: Carl Stotz’s wife, Grayce
Another item on loan is a uniform shirt and pants for Lycoming Dairy, one of the three teams in 1939. As the Great Depression was ending, Mr. Stotz personally visited 56 businesses in the Williamsport area to try to find sponsors before Lycoming Dairy’s Floyd Mutchler agreed, saying “We’ll go along, for the boys.”
Eventually, Lundy Lumber and Jumbo Pretzel also sponsored teams in 1939. The fee for sponsorship was $30 per team, and collections were taken at games, but it was not enough. Financial records from the early years (also to be on display) show that Mr. Stotz used his own funds to keep the program going, and was not fully repaid until 1943.
The artifacts, maintained by Jim Myers and Karen Stotz Myers since Mr. Stotz passed away in 1992, belong to the Stotz family. The items on loan to the World of Little League are among thousands remaining in the Stotz family’s possession.
Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, addresses the media and Internet audience watching on Little League TV. Mr. Keener introduced items on loan to the new World of Little League. Seated is Karen Stotz-Myers, daughter of Little League Founder Carl E. Stotz.
The World of Little League will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., seven days a week. The public opening on June 15 will kick off a celebrations leading to the program’s 75th Anniversary year in 2014.
More information on the World of Little League: Peter J., McGovern and Store is available at Little League’s website is: www.LittleLeague.org.
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.4 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.