PLAY BALL! Elk­ton Lit­tle League turns 60 years old

League to honor past pres­i­dents, pair of World Se­ries teams

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

ELK­TON — Elk­ton Lit­tle League will be cel­e­brat­ing a ma­jor mile­stone this week­end when it holds its an­nual open­ing cer­e­monies.

In honor of Elk­ton Lit­tle League’s 60th birth­day, the com­mu­nity is in­vited to at­tend the Open­ing Day cel­e­bra­tion Satur­day at Eder Park, where past league pres­i­dents and a pair of for­mer World Se­ries teams will be re­united to com­mem­o­rate the an­niver­sary.

Mem­bers of the Elk­ton Lit­tle League’s 1966 Se­nior All-Star base­ball team that went to the World Se­ries 50 years ago in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Elk­ton Lit­tle League’s 1979 Se­nior Al­lS­tar soft­ball team that fin­ished run­ners-up in the World Se­ries in Waco, Texas will be hon­ored as part of the fes­tiv­i­ties. In ad­di­tion, sev­eral past Elk­ton teams that ad­vanced to East­ern re­gion­als will also be in at­ten­dance.

The Open­ing Day cer­e­mony will be­gin on the Ma­jor Di­vi­sion (mid­dle) base­ball di­a­mond at Eder Park on Howard Street fol­low­ing the an­nual Lit­tle League Pa­rade, which kicks off at 10 a.m. The for­mer World Se­ries teams and past pres­i­dents are ex­pected to join the cur­rent lit­tle league play­ers and coaches as they march.

“I feel for the peo­ple of Elk­ton be­cause most of them played on these teams and now they have kids play­ing on these teams,” cur­rent Elk­ton Lit­tle League Pres­i­dent Tim Eller said. “I think it’s great for the town. Elk­ton Lit­tle League has been around for 60 years and it’s a land­mark for us. All the All-Star teams from the be­gin­ning to now, I think it’s his­tory be­ing made at the ball field.”

Martin Thomp­son, the ad­min­is­tra­tor for Dis­trict 5, which en­com­passes six lo­cal lit­tle leagues, in­clud­ing Elk­ton’s, will take part in Satur­day’s event.

“Per­son­ally, I think it’s great. I’ve been dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tor for the past 24 years and it’s a great honor to be in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in their Open­ing Day,” Thomp­son said. “They’re bring­ing back peo­ple who went through the pro­gram and hon­or­ing them again. A lot of times we have a ten­dency to for­get peo­ple af­ter many years. I think it’s great that Elk­ton Lit­tle League is pay­ing re­spect to the peo­ple in the past who have done won­ders to their league.”

On dis­play at Eder Park will be pho­tos and me­men­tos from the past 60 years of Elk­ton Lit­tle League, pro­vided by for­mer play­ers and with help from Dis­trict 5 Trea­surer Sharon Ar­bour.

“I think it’s great for the town. Elk­ton Lit­tle

League has been around for 60 years and it’s a land­mark for us. All the All-Star teams from the be­gin­ning to now, I think it’s his­tory be­ing made at the ball field.”

Tim Eller Elk­ton Lit­tle League Pres­i­dent

“It’s pretty spe­cial,” said Ralph Gam­ble, who played first base on the 1966 World Se­ries team. “We went to the World Se­ries 50 years ago and it’s hard to be­lieve it’s been that long. We were the first ones from Elk­ton to go. That makes it spe­cial.”

Gam­ble’s World Se­ries team­mate, Tom Racine, who passed away in 2012 af­ter a battle with can­cer, ap­pre­ci­ated the im­pact that the 1966 team had on the com­mu­nity, ac­cord­ing to his daugh­ter, Katie.

“Tom Racine would have loved to have been a part of this an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion. He was proud of all his team ac­com­plished that year and of­ten thought back to that time with fond mem­o­ries,” she said. “It not only shaped my fa­ther’s youth but gen­er­a­tions to fol­low. Both my sis­ter and I grew up in Elk­ton Lit­tle League. All seven of Tom’s grand­chil­dren have played or are cur­rently play­ing in var­i­ous lit­tle leagues.

“He passed his love and re­spect of the game to his chil­dren and grand­chil­dren and through them his love of base­ball will con­tinue on for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Elk­ton Lit­tle League will cel­e­brate its 60th an­niver­sary on Satur­day.

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