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Daughter of Little League Founder Speaks At Muncy Historical Museum

By Staff | Oct 20, 2009

MUNCY – This month the Muncy Historical Society welcomed Karen Stotz Myers, daughter of Little League Baseball’s Founder, Carl Stotz. “This story is not about Little League but about my father,” she first replied as she faced the audience. Myers held up two novels written about her father’s life, one told about his story building Little League and the other was a profile on his life.

She relayed his all consuming interest in trying to establish an organized league and coordinating a regular ball playing field during the Depression. In 1939 unemployment was high, transportation was limited and regular work was hard to come by. But Carl Stotz was tenacious throughout his vision and soon he was able to hold 426 meetings talking to men and businesses to start Little League teams.

He had a steady job at an oil company earning 12 dollars a week so he could have a steady paycheck,” said Myers of her father. He wasn’t ready to give this up so he spent all of his spare time working on Little League.

His two young nephews, close to ages nine and eleven, were a huge inspiration to him said Myers. After injuring his foot on a stump from a lilac tree in their yard, he decided then and there to start a league and form teams with a decent ball field. At the time, he lived near Bowman Field.

It was in 1943 when almost 500 people came to watch the Little League games. Stotz lost his full time job shortly after that and took several part time jobs but nothing was steady for him. One of his part time jobs was at Lundy Lumber who later became a Little League sponsor.

So Stotz spent a considerable amount of his time forming a ball field with the correct dimensions. He bent some rules and established some dimensions using newspapers, laying them out on a field to determine the odds of throwing and hitting distances. It came to be about 60 inches said Myers. “It was a real challenge for him,” she said. “My father had a special affinity for Muncy,” she told everyone.

“He got 56 businesses from the area to sponsor teams including Sprout Waldron. He would even send me copies of The Luminary when I moved from the area,” commented Myers. The first Little League team in Muncy was formed around 1946.

Lycoming Dairy was his first big sponsor. He called it “A Loan To Baseball.” He used the money to buy a dozen balls and some uniforms. Things were hard to come by at the time,” she explained. Jumbo Pretzel was the second largest sponsor donating $30, paid by installments. It was not easy for him to keep getting sponsors. He had to find smaller gloves and smaller bats to accommodate for the pitching distances. Everything had to be devised.

Myers related the story of how her father floated in a makeshift kayak over the Lycoming Bridge during the flood of 1946 to rescue supplies from the ball field.

As history knows, Carl Stotz’s dream of forming a wholesome recreational program for young boys became a reality for Williamsport.

And to this day, boys and girls from all over the world come to Williamsport every year to play Little League Baseball learning the ideals of sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork.

When asked if she wanted to play baseball as a young girl, Myers replied, “I enjoyed going to the games and looking at the boys.” She is also a member of the Muncy Historical Society.