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Youth Baseball Comes to Frederick

ABOUT 500 FANS gathered at what was described as a "special" stadium built on 12th Street west of Motter Avenue on June 18, 1951 to watch an historic baseball game. They were there to see the first Little League game ever played in Frederick. Only a few months before, the Frederick Little League had been organized with Jim Grove as president. The league was placed in the Western Division of the state along with three teams from Cumberland, two from Hagerstown and one from Frostburg. Four teams were in that initial Frederick league: the Lions. Civitans, North End and South End. The league was for eight to 13 year olds. The opening game was scheduled for June 13, but postponed three times because of rain. Finally, on June 18, the Civitans edged North End 13-11 to win the first game. The initial postseason game was held July 25 and matched the Frederick All-Stars against the National All-Stars of Hagerstown. It was played in Frederick before 1,400 fans. Hagerstown scored seven unearned runs in the first inning and beat Frederick 7-3 to eliminate the local team from further district competition. Hagerstown managed only five hits off Frederick's Charles Weddle, but the local team made three errors in the first inning and Weddle walked two as Hagerstown took the early lead. The loss ended a short, but historic, season for the Frederick Little League stars.


• • 1951 • •

Feb 2, 1951
Frederick appears to be set for Little League baseball this summer. Developed in a series, of meetings, planning for a four-team Frederick League, to be affiliated with the National Little League, have reached a point of drawing articles of incorporation and sponsors of the sports program are confident the small boy nines will be playing locally by summer. Now grown to national importance, with its own miniature world series, Little League baseball is the product of one man's enthusiasm for the game and for a better break for youngsters. He is Carl E. Stotz, Williamsport, Pa, who in 1934, conceived the idea of a baseball league for boys under 13 and then did something about it. His dogged determination awakened interest of other sports lovers and the idea spread until there will be more than 450 leagues in the United States and several foreign countries by the time the 1951 season gets under way. Mr. Stotz, now serving as national commissioner, maintains offices in Williamsport. where last year's Little League series drew a crowd of 10.000 to see Texas defeat Connecticut The '51 tournament is expected to be even larger and more elaborate. Little League baseball's growth has been spectacular the last several years, and there are predictions that the circuits will total more than 1.000 within a few years. Even today, with its registered total of 150 leagues. Little League baseball has more supervised club operation than all major and minor leagues combined All teams and leagues are locally sponsored and Frederick interest is high. The 27 charter members (the list still is open) have elected these officers: President. James A. Grove, first vice-president, I. J. Ramsburg second vice-president, John H. Conrad: treasurer. Byron W. Thompson, secretary, George Chapline, Jr. The officers with Capt.J.E. Ivey. post adjutant at Camp Detrick, constitute the executive committee.

Feb 21, 1951

Four Teams Will Make Up Circuit Operating Here This Year. Three Frederick civic clubs
planked down substantial cash backing for teams in this city's first Little League baseball project for 8-12 years old boys, Monday night. Members, sponsors and executives of Frederick Little League, saw representatives of the Civitans, North End and South end Civic Association present checks for S275 each to outfit a sponsored team of youngsters. A fourth civic club (Lions) is taking action today, on backing the other team to round out the 1951 loop. Postmaster James A. Grove, president of the adult backers group announced to the meeting held in the Staley Park Fieldhouse. Frederick has affiliated with the National Little League, Inc.


May 2, 1951
May Enroll 400 in League

Outnumbering estimates of adult backers, Little League baseball with tryouts for players under ten years old this evening, bids fair to enroll 400 youngsters as candidates for placement on the four (earns inaugurating organized juniors) diamond competition in Frederick. More than 100 twelve-year olds showed up for the first drill, Monday evening. Tuesday, about the same number were on hand. This evening, 6 p. m, (DST) when the youngest group of boys, ten-years and under appear at McCurdy Field, coaches expect their biggest crowd of would-be ballplayers, the largest number applicants being in the nine and ten-year-old groups. Enthusiasm runs  high among both applicants for play and spectators. Fond parents form a major portion of the fans assembling for the "tryouts" but there is also a large staff of coaches, managers and assistants on hand each evening, under Postmaster James Grove, who is president of Frederick Little League. Tryouts for Little league teams, are neither haphazard nor confused. The training of youngsters here is patterned after big-league operation and in strict conformity with the program laid down by the national Little League executives. These plans follow through local, district and nation-wide competition to the well-established Little League World Series playoffs. For the first call of tryouts Monday, Frederick Little League, Inc.. contemplating a bigger turnout than any local playgrounds could accommodate, made arrangements for use of McCurdy Field, passing up for the time being, even the ample confines of their stadium site on the proposed North End School lot. It was a good thing the committeemen were far sighted. With 171 twelve-year-olds appearing for first trials and more younger trainees coming on succeeding tryouts. McCurdy Field took on the appearance of a three-ring baseball circus Monday evening order was quickly established. Walker N. Jolliffe, former college star, took over aspiring pitchers. Al Forney, worked over the catching prospects. Gehrman and Haines, went into action with the infielders assisted by Joe Carroll, who also was in charge of batting practice. The big outfield of McCurdy Field was probably the busiest it has ever been. Under coaches Joe Price. Alden Summers. Harry Reid and Gene Hummel, would-be gardeners were put through their paces. Each coach had several qualified assistants. Overall administration was under Grove, Jim Cotter and Secretary George M. Chapline, Jr. Training tryouts will continue four weeks, coaches say. As younger players develop they will be stepped up to the first squad of about 100 selected players from which the four team managers will bid for 12 uniformed and six reserve candidates, to open League play at the boys' sized stadium on Motter avenue, the day school closes, June 13.


June 13, 1951
Little League Now In Western Md. Division

It is real "organized" baseball now for Frederick's starting Little League. Over the weekend President Jim Grove of this city and officials of the Frederick Little League, signed terms at Hagerstown to place the locals in the Western Maryland Division of the State Little League. Western Division of the State Association comprises Frederick. Frostburg, three Little Leagues in Cumberland and two in Hagerstown. Eastern Division of the State has these leagues: Baltimore, Bel Air, Havre de Grace and Ridgewood. The Western Division has been sub-divided into two districts, with Frostburg and Cumberland leagues in one grouping; Frederick and Hagerstown in the other to facilitate travel and intra-district play. Winning teams in each district will meet in a best two-of-three games series. August 2-3-4, for the Western Maryland Division championship July 25. Hagerstown National Little League play at Frederick against local Little League all-stars.
Winners of this inter-city competition are then scheduled to play the Hagerstown American Little "League all-stars at Hagerstown July 26 and 27; returning for a playoff contest at Frederick, July 28,  should the district games at the Hub City split. State finals will be played by the champions of the Maryland Eastern and Western Divisions, August 9-10-11, this year on the diamond of the Western Maryland champions. State finals playing field will alternate annually between the Eastern and Western Divisions. Winners of the Maryland Association of Little Leagues finals, will then go to Trenton, N J., for the Regionals with opportunity to advance to the Nationals.

• • 1955 • •

BRUNSWICK BECAME THE third area in the county to form a Little League team joining Thurmont and Frederick. In first round district play the new entry shocked Frederick 8-3 as Joe Feaster blanked the city team over the final five innings. Meanwhile,Thurmont beat Sykesville 1-0. Sykesville managed only one hit and Thurmont two. The two winners then met in a second round district game with Thurmont winning 4-3. The county team scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth. Eddie Ridenour hit a two-run homer for Thurmont. In the District 4 title game. Thurmont, which had never advanced past the first round in previous district play, lost to Pen Mar 9-3. Thurmont made seven errors and had four passed balls as the boys from the northern end of the county were obviously nervous.

• • 1956 • •

FREDERICK AMERICAN became the fourth county learn to join the Little Leagues. There had been a Frederick American team for the past two years, but this marked the first year they were involved In postseason play. The city's other entry, which began as the Frederick Little League in 1951, was now the Frederick National Little League. The two city teams were matched against each other in the first round of the district tournament and the Nationals won 7-0 as Eddie Storks pitched a three-hitter. Meanwhile, Brunswick edged Thurmont 3-1 on a two-run homer by George Hawes in the first inning. In second round play, the Nationals beat Potomac 1-0 as John Hammond hurled a five-hitter despite a sprained wrist. Frederick only managed one hit and scored without the benefit of a hit in the second inning. Meanwhile. Sykesville downed Brunswick in the other district game. 8-3. In the district semifinals. Frederick National edged Sykesville 3-2 on a seven-hitter by Storks. Sykesville scored both its runs in the sixth inning. Frederick then won the district title with a 6-5 win over Hancock. Bill Siedling had two hits and scored two runs. The win moved Frederick into sectional action and they opened against Front Royal. Va.. and won 5-1 as Storks hurled a five hitter and Adrian Winpigler scored twice. In second round sectional play, Frederick blanked Carroll Park of Baltimore 6-0. John Hammond pitched a four-hitter. In the sectional finals Frederick downed Easton 7-0 on a three-hitter by Storks. The win moved the local team to the regionals in Lakewood N.J. But in the first game Frederick fell to Delaware Township 11-4 and the season came to an abrupt halt.

Articles and information displayed and included on these pages are from the Frederick Little League, Inc;  Frederick National Little League, Inc; Frederick Post; Frederick Evening Post; Frederick News, The Frederick News Post; The Herald Mail and Morning Herald. Special note should be given to articles and columns authored by "Bucky" Summers, Stan Golderg & Bill Cauley covering Frederick area Little Leagues for many years.

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