Early Little League bat boy recalls first World Series | News, Sports, Jobs

Bill Young, one of the first bat boys who worked the 1947 National Little League Baseball Tournament, which went on to become the Little League World Series. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

At the age of 7, Bill Young was one of the first bat boys for the Little League World Series.

There weren’t many teams that first year, for which the series was called the National Little League Baseball Tournament as Little League’s leadership wouldn’t adopt the World Series moniker until a few years later, but the experience was enough to solidify his love of baseball.

“I remember we didn’t win, but it was such a treat to be part of it,” Bill recalled. “I remember people sitting on the dike.”

Of one thing he’s certain — no one thought it would grow to the size and scope it has.

“It was pretty much a local thing,” he said. “It’s come a long way.”

He grew up in Williamsport — first on Third Street near where the pedestrian walkway now is and then on Mansel Avenue. His brother Larry Young played for L.L. Stearns in Brandon Little League that year. Bill himself would go on to play for Brandon Little League for four years or so. Their mother also would take the two of them by bus across town to watch Original League’s games.

“My mother was a great baseball fan,” Bill said. “We would pack a lunch and go.”

The love of baseball would be passed down through the generations. Bill’s son played Little League at Original League and now his great-grandchildren are looking forward to playing.

As a child, Bill and his brother also would go to minor league games. Later, after he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a paratrooper, he returned to Bowman Field — as a parachuting Santa Claus during a promotion for Tri-State Discount.

Bill said he learned some important lessons from Little League. He learned to show up on time — their manager was a “big stickler” for that — and he learned to have a positive attitude in his endeavors.

“Even if you lost, it was a good day,” Bill said.

Bill now lives in Williamsport near the high school for six months out of the year and winters in Florida. When he tells Floridians he’s from Williamsport, they usually tell him they watch the Little League World Series games. Sometimes, he says, he’ll tell them about his childhood experiences with Little League and with the first Little League World Series.

“I’m proud of being from Williamsport,” Bill said.

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