Very soon the La Grange Park Little League will “hit” a new milestone - its 60th Anniversary. Registration for the 2013 season will take place on Saturday, November 10th and Saturday, November 17th at the La Grange Park Community Recreation Center.
The “LGPLL” as it’s known by the community is a time-honored tradition for La Grange Park youth. And according to League President Phil Dorner, there are more than a few past and present residents to thank for the league’s longevity.
"Our league has lasted 60 years due to a strong commitment from the Village government, from all of our sponsors, and from all of the people that have volunteered their precious time over the years to make sure the children of La Grange Park get a quality recreational experience playing Little League baseball,” said Dorner, who has been involved with the league for eight years.
“Without the cooperation and help of the Village Board and the Community Park District, we wouldn't exist,” Dorner said, noting the league has nurtured its relationship with the two groups over the years. “I personally take pride in the fact that every year these relationships keep getting stronger and our league keeps getting better.”
The “LGPLL” was born in 1953 “just as the village population began to boom” after World War II, according to Lou Ritten, current La Grange Park Community Park District Board President and LGPLL league historian. The league was founded by a group of local residents: Eldon Glaves, Roy Hart, Doc Merrifield, Bap Mueller, and Burnie Walsh, and they were driven to offer the community an “organized recreational activity for youngsters.”
“The first year they started small,” said Ritten, who’s book “Touching All the Bases: A History of La Grange Park Little League” records the first 50 years of the league. “They started with 60 boys divided into four teams at the Major League (9-12 year old) level.”
A decade later the all-volunteer league would boast 408 players on 26 teams in four different age divisions, including one of the first T-Ball programs to be offered locally. In 1963, the league held its first Opening Day parade, a tradition that will hit its 50th anniversary this upcoming season with over 400 boys and girls participating.
“For sixty years, the LGPLL has provided a place for competitive play,” said Ritten. “But perhaps more importantly, it has also served as a venue for learning sportsmanship, teamwork, and it has enabled the formation of lifelong friendships and great memories.”
As Dorner points out, the LGPLL is proven to be more than just a baseball league. “Our organization really shows how our village, our volunteers, and our entire community works together to insure that its residents have great recreational programs.”
Registration for LGPLL’s 60th season will be held at the La Grange Park Community Rec Center at 1501 Barnsdale Road on Saturday, November 10th, from 10 AM - 3PM, or on Saturday, November 17th, from 10 AM - 1 PM. For more information about registration and league sponsorship contact Phil Dorner at (708) 579-9228 or visit http://www.eteamz.com/LGPLL .