View Full Version : Little League Memories

Enrico Pallazzo
03-08-2007, 09:51 PM
I know this isn't exactly spring training related, but I've reached my Josh Hamilton post limit for the week. But every spring makes me nostalgic for the good old days of Little League (not in a Michael Jackson kind of way.) Some of my favorite memories:
-When the best player forgot his glove and the coach made a scrub give up his.
-The dad who argues with the ump and gets thrown out of a freakin Little League game.
-The look on the coaches face when a lefty came up and he realizes he has the crappy kid playing right field.
-The pitcher who hits puberty before everyone else and is blowing hitters away.
-putting on your first cup
-the coach who's chain-smoking in the dugout
-the kid hitting .180 who goes out and buys gloves, a new bat, cleats...and still sucks
-the crappy player who gets his only hit all year and the place goes nuts

What's some of yours?

03-08-2007, 09:53 PM
I remember in the playoffs coming around third base and absolutely creaming the catcher on a play at home to score the winning run. It was sweet.

03-08-2007, 10:11 PM
I once drilled a kid three times in the same game.....

03-08-2007, 10:22 PM
I remember in the playoffs coming around third base and absolutely creaming the catcher on a play at home to score the winning run. It was sweet.

Those were the days. You can't do that anymore in Little League. No slide and you're out.

03-08-2007, 10:31 PM
Those were the days. You can't do that anymore in Little League. No slide and you're out.

Ironically, when I was a kid, I tried sliding between the catcher's legs once and he fell right on top of my shins, severely bruising them to the point where I had to sit out the last 2 weeks of the season. The doctor was concerned that another contusion to the legs before they healed would cause permanent damage the the blood vessels in my legs. So if there's a no slide=out rule, is there also a no blocking the plate rule?

03-08-2007, 10:34 PM
Ironically, when I was a kid, I tried sliding between the catcher's legs once and he fell right on top of my shins, severely bruising them to the point where I had to sit out the last 2 weeks of the season. The doctor was concerned that another contusion to the legs before they healed would cause permanent damage the the blood vessels in my legs. So if there's a no slide=out rule, is there also a no blocking the plate rule?

Yachtzee: "Mama said they was my magic legs."

03-08-2007, 11:29 PM
I played one year of Little League because I had asthma and this was before inhalers. I was the proverbial kid in right field. I got on base once thanks to the catcher missing the third strike. Somehow I got to third base where my younger brother was playing for Squeak's Barber Shop (I was on the VFW team, their bad year). The team that was extremely good, a year ahead of us was the UDF team (they'd all be the VFW team the year before). Len Matuszek played for that UDF team - they were some thumpers for being 11 and 12 years old. These were teams in Deer Park and Silverton.

The PeeWee teams were all sponsored by Rutterer's Pharmacy and the teams were the color of their tshirts: the Maroons, the Golds, the Reds, the Greens, the Navy Blues, the Royal Blues, etc.

There's a great chapter from Shirley Jackson's book Raising Demons titled "braves 10, giants 9" (lower case correct) about little league baseball back in the 50's and 60's that really captures the spirit of little town games.

03-08-2007, 11:33 PM
My two favorite little league memories were my 8th grade year before HS ball..

Memory 1:

If any of you have been to the HS field at Indian Hill, you'll be able to easily follow along....

I'm playing RF after pitching 5 IP of 1 run ball with 9 Ks and 7 BB (yeah, I had a control problem). There's a guy on 1B with 1 out, lefty at the plate and I'm shaded towards the line. He hits this rope over our 1B, and at the crack of the bat I have it in my mind the kid on 1B is not goin to 3B on my watch. As I get to the ball, I collect it and unleash this laser beam towards 3B. The ball probably never got more than 8 or 9 ft off the ground outta my right hand. The only problem was that it never came down. I threw it into the parking lot down the LF line at the ballfield and hit a Mercedes Benz directly in the windshield and broke it. The runner got home, the batter got 2B.

We ended up thankfully winning in extra frames.

Memory 2:

We were playing in some sorta double elimination Tourney at the Crosley replica at the park in Blue Ash.

I'm at the plate, 3-1 count, and the pitcher tries to sneak a fastball by me on the outside corner and I hit this rope into the gap in RF.

Outta the box, I have my mind set on 3B, but as I'm coming around 2B, I see the 3B coach giving me the Wendell Kim. I'm on my way home!

Relay from the RF comes into the 1B, who sends it to the plate, and as the ball is on the way I get to the Catcher about the same time as the ball and knock him and me silly.

I remember my left shoulder hitting him squarely in the chest and both of us going our separate ways.

I had to almost crawl to touch the plate after the collision.

We lost that game, but wow did I hit that kid hard.

03-08-2007, 11:45 PM
Yachtzee: "Mama said they was my magic legs."

"Forrest Gump" right? I saw that movie in German, so all I can think of for that line is "Zauberstiefeln."

The worst thing about the leg bruises was that I didn't get to play in the playoff game. I wouldn't get another chance at the playoffs until my last season of organized ball.

My worst memory: Any time someone took one to the groin. I remember when our third baseman took a line drive or one-hopper to the groin and wasn't wearing a cup. He was in the hospital for a few days. Still makes me ill just thinking of it. A few years later I took a one-hopper two inches away from my cup and still had to spend the game laying on a picnic table with a bag of ice on my crotch.

Best memory: Playing second base and turning two. I loved taking the flip, pivoting (or better yet jumping up) and firing to first.

Other memories:

Catching a game and ending up with dirt in every nook and cranny and a chest-protector shaped sweat stain.
The smell of fresh-cut grass mixed with the dusty smell of an infield that has just been drug.
Having to run "foul-pole to foul-pole" in practice.
Picking rocks out of the infield at the place where the "B" games where held.
The feel of hitting the ball right on the sweet spot.
The sting of hitting the ball not on the sweet spot.
The annoyance of coming up with the bases loaded only to realize that all the good helmets were taken and you had to wear the one that was 3 sizes too big an always falls down over your eyes whenever you take a swing.
Or worse, having to wear the helmet after the sweatiest kid on the team just used it.
Riding your bike across town in your uniform for the next game, with your glove hanging from the handlebars.
DQ after the game - Favorite treats: Peanut Buster Parfait if we won, Chocolate dipped cone if we lost.
End of the season pizza party

George Anderson
03-08-2007, 11:50 PM
Those were the days. You can't do that anymore in Little League. No slide and you're out.

And if the umpire ruled the runner was guilty of malicious contact against the catcher, the runner would be ejected.

03-09-2007, 12:03 AM
Talk about control problems - my brother-in-law pitched a no-hitter when he was about 9 or 10. It wasn't a big town, so the daily paper carried stories of the little league games. The headline read "Neuner Pitches No-Hitter" with the sub headline "marred by 9 walks". He carried that around in his wallet until he was about 40. I think he took it out after showing it to his second wife and she commented, "oh, I was born about a week after that". Ouch!

03-09-2007, 01:21 AM
The last summer before High School seems to be memorable for more than one of us. We were playing the Morehead Morons (our name for them) on a Saturday afternoon at our beloved home-field, named after Fargo's own.....Roger Maris. An evening game, played under the dome of mosquitoes. That field was a virtual blood-bank for the little parasites. Our Fargo squad, the Yankees to us, and Fargo Farts to them played each other regularly. Small population in North Dakota. Did you know, North Dakota is the only state in the U.S. to have less population today, than before WWII? Anyway, we played them often and no team could lay claim to any level of superiority. My own belief, we'd have won the season's match-up 6-4, had we kept better track of our equipment.

With a strong showing of parental support on both sides, we remained tied in the 6th. Between innings, my catcher (I pitched that day) got into an argument with his Mother. She was the wife of a well-known local criminal who was doing time in Bismark. The catcher's Mom believed her son to be calling for too many off-speed pitches, and he stood his ground. In retrospect, I think they might have both been right. My fast-ball looked off-speed. The arguing continued into the 7th and as he took his place behind the plate, you could still hear them both. About 2 batters into the inning, I turned to check the guy on 2nd. When I looked back to Home-Plate, the two were in a full scale brawl. Catcher and Mom. The Umpire wisely stepped back and I foolishly tried to break them up. I should've known, not a single parent dared to get up or say a word. By the time it was over, I'd given up several hits to her, as did my catcher. She finished it off by dragging him to their "64" Impala and he was gone. So was our catcher's equipment and our spirit. The guy on 2nd had scored during the melee, and our effort in the bottom of the 7th was less than enthusiastic. Thank you for allowing me to share what has now become a regular discussion between my Brother and me.

03-09-2007, 01:51 AM
My Little League memory was hitting my only home run off our league's best pitcher. I hit into a fielders choice in my first AB. Then doubled off the center field fence in my second AB. And then finally, with my cousin catching at that moment, hearing him saying to me "I know you can't do that again". To which I replied under my breath, "just make contact". He threw a first pitch fastball right down broadway, and swung and deposited over the left center field wall. It was also the only HR he gave up in his LL career. But it was my "greatest moment".

03-09-2007, 02:08 AM
My Little League Memories

- The smell of the oil on the dirt
- Being named to the league All Star team at SS
- Winning MVP of the All Star Game for starting a triple play and hitting a HR
- Joe D_____ Always played a shallow RF and the ball would always go over his head...he'd start running back for the ball, knock his hat off his head and then make a diving catch like he played CF in St. Louis!
- Going swimming after the games with my team.
- My grandfather would come to every game.

Nostalgic good times.

Thanks for the jolt!

Enrico Pallazzo
03-09-2007, 02:37 AM
my own personal story: I never pitched and hated it, but one day we were short on pitchers and coach stuck me in there (it was probably a blowout loss). Anyway I proceeded to walk the first guy on four pitches and promptly surrendered a double to the next guy.

Now I'm looking into dugout practically begging the coach to pull me. He doesn't move. I turn back to home plate and lo and behold up steps this jerk from school. So I think, "the hell with this, as long as I'm in here I'm having some fun."

So I aim the first one inside and absolutely drill this kid in the back. I'm not kidding, he went straight to his knees.

My coach leaps out of the dugout and practically sprints to the mound. I hand him the ball and he says two words, "Never Again."

Ten years later I would watch Jerry Narron say the same words to Rick White.

03-09-2007, 09:04 AM
Favorite memory: getting bumped up to my older brother's team and playing SS for them. As a 12 year old I was overmatched at the plate by the 14 year olds, but they wanted me up there for my glove and my arm. I was Juan Castro before there was a Jaun Castro....

03-09-2007, 09:42 AM
once when I was pitching... the whole game I had been pretty wild, but only had about 2-3 walks. Seemed like every batter would go 3-0 then I'd come back and get them out. I think I gave up maybe 2 hits, no ER or R.

I think the count was 2-2. Next pitch -- Ball kinda slipped out and I accidently threw it behind the batter. It was pretty obvious it was accidental, you could tell I was frustrated with myself. The kid looks up, and points his bat at me. I remember hearing parents in the crowd, and their dugout laughing and it just set me off. Next pitch I threw it as hard as I could (have the natural LHP tail to it X 100) came in at his hands he dove back and it tailed back to the inside corner, strike three. Made sure I pointed at him as he sat down.

03-09-2007, 10:02 AM
Favorite memory: getting bumped up to my older brother's team and playing SS for them. As a 12 year old I was overmatched at the plate by the 14 year olds, but they wanted me up there for my glove and my arm. I was Juan Castro before there was a Jaun Castro....

That's priceless!

03-09-2007, 10:04 AM
I coached HS ball for several years and I had a kid show up for tryouts in cowboy boots, jeans, and a cowboy hat. No lie. I've got some stories for you guys on here sometime about tryouts, games, etc.

03-09-2007, 10:10 AM
I remember turning our first double play in Little League against one of my buddies. I was the SS and he hit a nice hard two hopper that I fielded up the middle, stepped on the bag, and tossed to first. Our 2nd baseman couldn't field or throw, so double plays weren't going to be a common occurance. I don't think we turned a 4-6-3 or 6-4-3 all year.

I remember playing 2nd base for some reason (I always was the SS) one game and our pitcher got a hot comebacker and the ball got stuck in his glove. He made off towards 1B, but he wasn't going to beat the runner. All the while I was yelling at him to throw his glove. By this time the runner was nearing the bag ... the pitcher threw his glove (ball still lodged in it) OVERHAND and with some pretty good velocity directly to the 1Bman who caught it in his glove. Runner was out by a stride.

Its seems like any time I hit a HR in high school it was somehow overshadowed.

In High school I hit a HR in the bottom of the 6th to put us up 3-2. In the top of the 7th, 2 outs, a fly ball is lifted into the OF and the CF and I converge. At the last minute we both stop and it drops between us. The batter ends up scoring a few pitches later on a passed ball. One of my buddies hits a HR in the bottom of the 7th and gets all the glory. I remember the write-up in the paper describing his dramatic HR ... and at the end of the article it said ... "gonelone also homered." Doh!

Another time in HS I hit a 3 run HR in the bottom of the 6th against our rival school to put us up 3-2. With 2 outs and a runner on in the top of the 7th, one of their guys pops up a ball behind the plate, our catcher has trouble finding it, and he misses it. On the next pitch the guy homers to put them up 4-3. We didn't score, lost, and had to share the league crown with them.

One time in HS I was playing OF and a guy hit a drive into the gap. I tracked the ball for what seemed along time and leaped up to grab it in a full sprint going back to the fence. Our fences were only about 4.5 high in the OF, My butt cleared the fence, but my legs did not (I didn't know it was there) and I toppled over the fence (just missed the ball).

EDIT: My sophmore year in HS we got a new coach. After about a week of practice he comes to me and tells me, your going to be our catcher this year (I had never caught before.) What do you think ... he says? I did one deep knee bend for him. My knees crack like a 90 year old. His eyes get real, real big and his mouth just hangs open. Once he regains his composure he says, we'll find a spot for you kid. Ha Ha.

03-09-2007, 10:22 AM
Unfortunately, I wasn't much of a baseball fanatic as a kid and as a result I don't have many "personal" little league memories. However, I could write a novel on the memories I have of watching my two sons play. What a joy that was! Maybe I'll get a replay in a few years with grandchildren.

03-09-2007, 10:22 AM
Yachtzee's post triggered a few good memories for me as well.
The smell I remember was a combination of cut grass, dirt, leather, bubblegum, and tobacco.
The helmet thing is spot on...except the opposite for me. I was blessed with a giant bucket head so in that situation I had to wear the one that would barely squeeze onto my big melon.
For after game treats, I always got a suicide; a little bit of each kind of pop all in one.
Bubs Daddy bubble gum; never took the field without at least a half a "rope"...watermelon always.

My favorite on field memory is easy. Every kid in our league had to bat at least once and play two innings in the field and my first two years I was one of those kids. Then, things started to click in year three. Early in the season I finally tied into one and sent it out of the park to left. I watched the flight for a little bit then turned to run to first where my dad was coaching. I'll never forget the look on his face, eyes wide and bright and a smile from ear to ear as he banged his hands together waiting for me. I got the glad hand as I hit the bag at first and then just kind of floated around the rest of the bases. That was 30+ years ago and I can still see dad standing there like it was yesterday.

Red Leader
03-09-2007, 10:29 AM
Favorite Little League memories:

The first one was in the 5th grade.

We played a game on the East Side of Dayton. I forget the name of the park now (maybe someone else will know it), but I want to say Cleveland Park? Our Elementary school team was mega loaded and we played CYA ball (a cake league in Dayton). Anyway, we were playing our stiffest competition at their park. My Dad grew up in East Dayton and had played at this park as as kid. He told me on the way to my game how great he was when he was a kid. Told me that once he had gotten ahold of a fastball and hit a ball to the base of this hill at this park on a fly. (There was a pretty steep hill at this park in LF - the base of it was probably 245-265 feet from home). The game is tied 1-1 in the last inning. We were the away team. I came up to the plate with the bases empty. Pitcher throws me a fastball on the inside half. I turned on it. The ball landed about 1/2 way up the hill. I crushed it. Easily was a 285-300 ft shot (which is enormous for a 5th grader, or was at the time). I hot dog'd it around the bases, big smile on my face. I touch home plate and walk back to the dugout with my teammates going crazy. I look over to where my Dad was sitting and he's not there. Next thing I feel is his hand on my shirt, tugging at me. I look up and he said "nice shot, but if you ever hot dog it around the bases like that again, I'll tackle you before you can touch home plate. You don't do that crap!" I got the point. My Dad was one of those guys that always looked for things you could improve on and would talk to me on the way home about what he saw and what he thought I could do better. The car ride home that day was absolutely silent. I think he was 1/2 ticked at me for hot dogging it, and 1/2 ticked at me because I one-upped him and hit the ball further than him.

Second favorite memory was in 3rd grade. When I was young I played ball a lot, threw everyday. As a result, I had a good arm. I blew away kids when we started playing kid pitch. I'm talking I rarely gave up any hits and struck out a ton of players, like 2/3 of those I faced. My Mom went to this game, which was rare. My Mom never went to one of my games. My Dad never missed a game I played from t-ball through college. Anyway, 3rd grade. Our team is winning like 12-0. I'm mowing down the other team. There is a kid on the other team that is a "small person (P.C. term)" He's up to the plate and I'm still dealing strikes (I had good control, too). 0-2 count I throw him a fastball, right down the middle. He makes contact, hits a chopper back to me on the mound, and starts running. I saw him run out of the box. You could see on his face how excited he was that he made contact. He was all smiles while he ran. Suddenly, he fell. I held the ball and looked at him. He got up and started to run again. I held the ball. He made it to 1st. After the game his parents came up to me and told me what a nice thing it was that I let him get on base. It was the first time he had ever reached base and he was so happy to have finally gotten there. They talked to my parents for a little while. His parents thanked me continuously. That kid still had a smile on his face when he walked out to the parking lot. Really made me feel good as I went home that I had made someone's day like that.

03-09-2007, 10:52 AM
I played Little League in Dayton, and was a pretty darned good slap hitter - I was always leading off, as I always got on base, and always took off for second.
Memories then:
Getting hit in a front tooth with a grounder to the outfielder, and hearing the coach yell "Way to stay in front of it, Greg!"
In an all-star game, the opposing pitcher threw heat...but had no control. He hit our first batter in the head with a fast ball, sending the kid to the ground. Of course, I was nervous, and sure enough, I got hit...in the ass. I cried like a baby.

When we moved to Piqua, I got a lot less playing time. I was the kid in left field, getting one at bat a game.
I had two coaches in three years, and neither believed in practice. We had one practice session before the season started. Before the games, we would toss around the ball for five minutes. That was it - so needless to say, my old batting abilities when into the can. I usually either struck out or walked - and when I walked, I always stole second, because I did not like our first-base coach.
We were terrible - I think we won four games those three years, three of those wins being in the first year.
In my third year, I finally got my first hit...with a corked bat. Yeah, that's right - I had to freaking cheat to get my one and only Pony League base hit. Even better, the bat broke, though it fortunately only did so at the handle.
On my last year, we had a shortstop by the name of Mike Smith - you could tell he was a pretty good player. He was the main reason we did not get shut out every game (the coach's son - and starting pitcher - was the reason the other team never got shut out). Mike eventually made it as high as AA for the Texas Rangers, before getting hurt.
On my last game, only five of our guys showed up.
Again, I had only played right field previously, but this time, the coach was forced to play me at second (we "drafted" three chumps from another team). Unfortunately for the coach, he found out at that last game I was about 10 times better than his regular second baseman. I made a couple of diving plays, a running catch-and-throw-to-first, and turned a pretty mean couple of double plays (on one, I literally threw at the baserunner's head...hey...it was directly between me and first. He ducked in time).
Batting wise, I did my usual - one strikeout, two walks, and three stolen bases. Oh, and we lost by something like 9-0. I think the other team had pity on us.

03-09-2007, 11:13 AM
My last year of Little League, our team went undefeated and won the whole thing, but the thing I remember most about that season was the time I got tossed out of a game because I didn't slide into home when the catcher was covering the plate and I barrelled over him. My coach didn't like the call too much either (mind you he was a very, very mild-mannered fella) and he actually got tossed from the game as well for thinking it was the wrong call. All I remember is that lying on the ground with a handful of dirt in my mouth and the ump literally screaming, he's out of here.

Chip R
03-09-2007, 12:00 PM
I have a very vague recollection of this but my parents have brought this up fdrom time to time. We were playing a game and we were out in the field. A kid on my team didn't care what was going on cause he had to go to the bathroom so he just leaves right then and heads to the bathroom. I guess when you gotta go you gotta go.

Caveman Techie
03-09-2007, 12:05 PM
My favorite Little League memory is from coaching not playing. I guess I got to set this up. I had helped coach my son's team two years ago and we had an awesome year making it all the way to the league championship (lost in extra innings). Anyway the manager of that team had ticked off quite a few parents (mainly his rose-colored glasses when it came to his son) and so several of them had asked me to take a team the next year, so I did.

Last year I managed my son's team and it's about half-way through the season when we play the old managers team. Now my son was pitching that day, and before this game he could usually eat a few innings for us but, he was nothing spectacular. But on this day he turned into Greg Maddux. I don't know if it was playing against the guy that ticked him off or what but it was a beautiful thing. He started out pitching 5 innings of 1 run baseball, striking out 6 including the managers son twice, and we were up 5 - 1. So he got done with the 5th inning and their walking back to the dugout and my assistant coach just looks at me and says

"Your sending him out there for the last inning!"

I didn't think it was a good idea after all your only allowed 6 innings a week in Little League anyway, and I was worried about hurting him. He just says again,

"Your sending him out there for the last inning!"

Thats when my score keeper had informed me that my son was only on his 63rd pitch of the game. I was sold, we sent him out for the final inning. The umpire even questioned me on it if I was sure, I just told him.

"He's only at 63 pitches!"

So starting off the 6th inning.

First batter, Pitch 1 a grounder back to my son, quick flip to first out 1 on pitch 64.

Second batter, Pitch 1 a grounder back to my son, quick flip to first out 2 on pitch 65.

Third batter, Pitch 1 a weak grounder to second base, quick flip to first, and the firstbaseman dropped it. :) what were you expecting.

Fourth batter, took 5 pitches to strikeout and for a total 71 pitches for a complete game with .

I honestly think that was one of the best pitching performances I've ever seen in person, and thats not just proud Pappa syndrome. That was the game that I think he figured out you don't have to blow the ball by the kids, with a little bit of control and being able to change speeds he can get almost anyone in the league out. Ever since then he has become one of my most consistent pitchers. I'm really looking forward to this season.

03-09-2007, 12:12 PM
Unassisted triple play.....before the inning the SS and me (2b) joked about turning one. Sure enough with a runner on 1st and 2nd a little liner/looper that was just over the 2nd base bag barely wound its way into my glove. I stepped down on the bag and then out of shock of turning two already; I forget I just have to toss the ball to first and instead start to run down the runner heading for second and tag him for the 3rd out!

9 batters only rule....After the 9th batter the inning was over no matter what. I was catching and the 9th batter gets a SINGLE. But since no one else can come to the plate, he has to keep going. Everyone knows so they just give the catcher (me) the ball. The kid is slowly jogging to and around 2nd. Then he heads toward 3rd. As he starts to turn the corner he starts speeding up. I have already dug in and began to brace for the impact and await him like a tackling dummy. Soon the dust had cleared.......and he was out. If only the major leagues had such great rules.

03-09-2007, 12:27 PM
Pitching in the local city championship game. My dad coached the team. During the season we were the last place team. The opposing team was the first place team during the season. Every team in the league played in the playoffs. One game eliminations. I was primarily a first basemen back then. Due to the rules of the league a player was limited to so many innings in a week of pitching. Halfway through the game our current pitcher (not Todd as he was out of innings the game before.) Was out of his allotment. We were down 14 to 8. My dad told me to take the mound and do my best. I gave up a few hits but no runs. I lead off the bottom of the last inning (we didn't play a full 9 forgot what it was back then) with a double. We batted around that inning. It came back to me with 2 outs and a runners on second and third with a score of 14-13. I hit a single and we won the game. It was only the third game I had pitched in that year.