The year was 1939
First of all, thank you Steve Kelchner for your letter on June 29, which gives the Bebble Brothers their long overdue recognition as one of the three people who helped develop what was to be Little League Baseball.
I have boxes of information passed down to me from family members regarding Little League. I am enclosing copies of some of the items. One is a letter of invitation to Bert Bebble written June 22, 1954. Bert Bebble and his family had moved to Florida and the letter says, “May we have the pleasure of honoring you as one of the founders of Little League Baseball.” The letter is on letter head and signed by Carl Stotz.
Reading all of the different articles about Little League and the year 1939 does bring back many memories for some of us oldsters. I was almost seven years old and we lived in a cabin on a back country road between Grover and Ellenton. Yes indeed, times were tough for all. My dad worked on the road for the WPA and I think he was paid a small fee and received a discount booklet for groceries. Governor Shapp gave him the job.
My mother took us shopping at Avery’s General Store in Grover. Avery’s had everything. My favorite item was the washboard cookies. They were shaped like a washboard and had a coconut flavor. There were also books an d newspapers that folks dropped off when they were done with them and left them for anyone else that wanted something to read. My dad always picked up the newspaper and I liked the magazines on Hollywood stars the best.
Our weekend getaway was when my dad started up the old truck and we chugged our way to the field to see the ball game between Ralston and Roaring Branch. The baseball field was next to the Wheel Club at Roaring Branch.
My uncles, George and Bert Bebble, came up from Williamsport to play in the games. They loved playing baseball and that was their sport of choice. The games were lots of fun because Campbell, the umpire from Ralston, would run around the field and was a real hoot. He always made us laugh. I’m sure some folks from Ralston and Roaring Branch will remember those days.
The Bebble family was originally from Roaring Branch. There were 10 children in my dad’s family. My dad, Ben Bebble, was one of the older boys. My uncle Lew Bebble worked in a CC Camp for a while at Masten that was located up Pleasant Stream at Marsh Hill. The oldest girl, Aunt Irene Apker, taught school in a one room school house around Roaring Branch.
George and Bert had moved to Williamsport to work and get married. George and Bert with their wives, Annabelle and Eloise, all lived on Isabella Street, on block apart. I can remember going to George and Annabelle’s house and there were a lot of young boys there. My dad said it was George’s team. My aunt Annabelle always had cookies and Kool-aid. My dad called it sugar water.
My dad said some guy at George’s church had asked him to help start a baseball team for young boys. So many showed up to play that George recruited his brother Bert to help out. So became the first three teams of Little League Baseball. George had Lundy Lumber, Bert had Jumbo Pretzel and Carl Stotlz had Lycoming Dairy.
I believe the Original League should be allowed to play in the series.
I have enclosed pictures of the statue in Memorial Park. I think it would be proper on the 75th celebration to restore the original words on the statue that were put there on the 50th celebration. I have noticed in 1995, a plaque of some sort was put over the original writings. This was done after all three founders were deceased. I do not think any of the three would be happy. They were all great friends.
I think we all should be very proud of Little League, but most of all the many, many volunteers that make it possible. The largest statue of all should be one of the volunteer. I hope they still recognize the Bebble Brothers in the square they are building as some of us still remember the true beginnings by actually being there.
Marge Bebble Killian