Montgomery is world’s 2nd oldest Little League locale
MONTGOMERY – Many of those among the “Who’s Who” in the early years of Little League in Montgomery were among the more than 30 in attendance during the Montgomery Area Historical Society’s October meeting. The group represented players, coaches, managers and umpires from 1946 through the 1980’s.
The evening began with remaks from World of Little League Museum representative Janice Ogurcak, who updated the group on the revamping and expanding of the museum at South Williamsport. “Space has been increased by two thirds with many displays having the latest ‘hands on’ technology.”
Ogurcak affirmed that indeed Montgomery was the first team chartered outside Williamsport and will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2016 as the second oldest in the world.
The meeting was a spin-off from The Luminary’s August 13 edition featuring five of the earliest players giving them opportunity to tell the rest of their stories. The evening’s panel was comprised of James Stahl, Harry Riddell, Glen Shadle and Don Bergenstock.
Attendees adding their recollections included Monte Temple, Larry Stout, Paul “Will” Wertman, Barry Rake, Robyn Hannan, Gale Buck and Neal Winder.
Winder and his two brothers played over several years while his family was actively involved in baseball. Stout recalled the tradition of opening each game by reciting the “Little League Pledge,” composed by the game’s founder, Carl Stotz.
Temple said everyone had respect for the adults in charge as well as fellow players. “That has followed me through life,” he said. After citing Dale Pick of the Montgomery Mills team as an outstanding player, Barry Rake reminded all that an upcoming hall of fame inductee would be Montgomery’s own Max Snyder. Debbie Tobias Stine recalled that her father, Harold Tobias, coach of the Royals one of the first four teams, went on to umpire after teams were formed in neighboring communities.
Robyn Hannan said, “I am thankful for Title IX (1972) which allowed girls to compete the same as boys. Sports gave me the opportunity to be competitive, something I still am today. Also as I was a pretty good athlete, I became quite confident as a young girl.” As the first female on the team playing from 1975-77, Hannan said, “I recall all my teammates and their positions, also pitching a no hitter against other Montgomery teams. She went on to play softball and track and college basketball before coaching the hoop sport in middle high school, then on to assistant coach in collegiate basketball and softball. Currently teaching eighth grade English language arts at Williamsport Middle School, Hannan says, “I am the ‘color’ person for Lycoming College women’s basketball with Todd Bartley of ESPN Williamsport.”
Shadle was Hannan’s coach whom prior to the meeting she hadn’t seen since she was age 15. Of manager Riddell she said, “Mr. Riddell deserves so much credit. He gave so much time and commitment to his players whether in school or on the field. When I think back to people who’ve had an impact on shaping my life, Mr. Riddell would be near the top, a truly great person and teacher.”
Beginning this summer, the historical society is having former Montgomery players sign baseballs. “Ball signing encourages people to visit the museum. According to MAHS member Miriam McCormick, “The signings are an ice breaker and fosters conversation of memories from their experiences.” McCormick also announced that the society has designated “The Sunshine Area” within the Adam Room for display of memorabilia as the borough looks forward to marking their Little League’s 75th anniversary in 2016.
The historical society invites those with team photos to bring them in for scanning at the museum, either the second Saturday monthly, or by chance on Mondays from 10 a.m. until noon.