Life Changes: Sharing family stories

Families around the globe have numerous Little League stories to tell. My family does as well.

When I was a young girl, I met a man named Carl Stotz. He was sitting at a table signing autographs outside of the old downtown JC Penney store. He gave out information on baseball players’ stats, while telling stories about yesteryear.

As we approached, he recognized my mother and knew us both by name.

I was fascinated by him. I listened to Stotz share how my father and grandmother were involved at the onset of the game.

I had never heard some of the stories, as my father had died in an accident when I was five and my grandparents had predeceased him.

Yet I do remember Dad telling me he was on the original Lundy Lumber team. I also remember he was a coach for the Nardi’s Market team in Loyalsock Township.

Stotz began by remembering that my father and grandparents lived on Isabella Street.

He had asked my grandmother, Abbie Langley, to help put together a team of neighborhood boys that would soon be known as the Lundy Lumber team.

Stotz told me how my father, Louie Langley, played first base and had records of his stats. He wrote the information down on a card and gave it to me.

My one wish to this day, would have been to also meet George and Bert Bebble, the other important founders of Little League.

George had worked specifically with the Lundy Lumber team and my dad.

Many of you know that Stotz had been turned down by 56 businesses for a $30 sponsorship fee. The fee would pay for uniforms and equipment.

And as we know from history, three important businesses stepped up to the plate to sponsor the first teams in Little League history: Lundy Lumber, Lycoming Dairy and Jumbo Pretzel.

On June 6, 1939, the first game was played. Lundy Lumber defeated Lycoming Dairy, 23-8.

Now I’m certain that you may have Little League stories in your family’s history that have been important to pass down.

How wonderful that all of our collective family members had learned about sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork from men and women following in Stotz and the Bebbles’ footsteps.

So as I share my family’s story – and you remember yours – may we welcome those from around the world to our hometown this August.

May we show the world how to host with the universal language of kindness and courtesy.

May we become a more culturally inclusive community through their very presence.

May good sportsmanship be shown by all ages involved.

And may each person be blessed with the spirit of the boys and girls of summer.

Langley is the author of the newly released book, “Life Changes…” Her column is published the first Sunday of each month in the Lifestyle section.