"In our league, everybody wins …everything is good and right, as it should be … (one can) … leave the real world and go out there and get refreshed. There are no diversions for the kids, no distractions, no drinking, drugs, smoking or cursing, just baseball."
March 12 represents another year of continuous and uninterrupted operation of Myers Park Trinity Little League, whose charter was issued in 1952 by Little League Baseball, Incorporated. The preceding excerpt, from a feature article about our league in the Official Souvenir program for the August 1987 Little League World Series explains the ideals upon which our league was founded and one of the significant reasons we celebrate our anniversary every season.
Happy 50th Birthday to Myers Park Trinity Little League!
Over half a century ago, Ken McCullough, regional manager for Pure Oil, explained to friends, Donald and Bob Bryant and Al Browne, his having seen on the Pennsylvania playing fields organized youth baseball teams with full uniforms, sponsors, etc. playing on reduced size fields for six innings, rather than nine innings.
The thought of a similar experience in Charlotte interested the group. This resulted in the establishment by the Harry and Bryant Company in 1951 of a team for play in a countywide league, and the following year, on March 12, 1952, the Myers Park Civitan League was organized.
Donald Bryant, as a member of the Myers Park Civitan Club, signed, along with others, the original charter for the formation and organization of the original Myers Park Civitan League, which was one of the first Little League organizations in the county as well as in the South.
This original Myers Park Civitan League consisted of four teams: Harry and Bryant, Al Browne's Service, Blythe Motors and Farmers Dairy. The Harry and Bryant team and the Al Browne team are the only original chartered teams remaining in this league and traditionally play the first game against each other on the opening day of each season.
The Civitan Club continued its sponsorship of the league until the mid 60's at which time the existing group of coaches and parents banded together to continue the league and the name of the league became simply the Myers Park Little League. Soon after, this league absorbed the Trinity Presbyterian Church, Christ Church, and Myers Park Presbyterian teams. These three teams were previously unaffiliated with any official Little League organization. At this time, the name was changed to the Myers Park Trinity Little League. In recent years, the league became a not-for-profit charitable corporation and now operates as such with the necessary complement of members, directors and officers.
Through the years, our league has grown from the original four teams consisting of approximately fifty boys to a thirty-six team league with more than 450 boys and girls in our baseball and softball programs.
The mission of our league is to provide for participation of children, families and friends in an organized sports program of Little League baseball and softball in a way that encourages volunteer participation, promotes self-esteem and sportsmanship, and develops athletic skills and teamwork in an enjoyable environment. We strive to firmly implant in the children of the community the ideals of good sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, courage and respect for authority, so that they may be well-adjusted, stronger and happier children and will grow to be good, decent and healthy citizens. The attainment of exceptional athletic skill or the winning of games is secondary. The key charge is not a mandate to win but is to strive to win and the molding of future citizens is of primary importance.
During the first year that the original league was formed, games were played on the Myers Park Elementary School playground. At the same time, Donald Bryant and brother, Bob, made a search of the area for a permanent playing field. This led to the E. C. Griffith Company's ownership of a tract of land, which lay along the creek bed separating Museum Drive in Eastover from Randolph Road. The Bryants approached E. C. Griffith, Sr. about the use of a sufficient portion of that tract for the construction of a Little League playing field. Mr. Griffith graciously consented to that construction and its free use - but only for a "little while." That period of a "little while," as it turned out, lasted 42 years, commencing in 1952 and continuing without interruption through the baseball season of 1994 when the Griffith Company developed the property for use as apartments. One will note that the main entrance to these apartments is named "Little League Lane."
The name of the original field was Ranson Field, in honor of the late Dr. John Ranson, Sr., the first president of the Myers Park Civitan Club. It later became E. C. Griffith Field. A sister field was later constructed on the original tract and was named Lloyd C. Caudle Field in honor of the long-time president and tireless, outstanding leader of this league.
Picture, if you will, the initial work done on Ranson Field by Donald and Bob Bryant using Al Browne's old Chevrolet pick-up truck, behind which was dragged an old piece of chain link fence on the top of which stood one of the Bryant brothers while the other drove. This was the first effort towards the development of this new baseball field as the area's first Little League field. This field was ultimately placed in major league playing condition through the gracious assistance of the late Phil Howser. In 1953 and 1954, Mr. Howser, whose son, Bobby, played in our league for a number of years, brought in the grounds crew of the old Charlotte Hornets baseball team, of which he was the general manager, to chisel out a grass infield and all that went with it.
After the commencement of development for apartments by the Griffith Company of this original tract, the league moved across Randolph Road and began play on what was then known as the Randolph Park/Grier Heights Fields, located on Mecklenburg County owned property. This came about largely through efforts begun in 1982 by Lloyd Caudle and T. A. Sherill, as assisted by Kip Kiser and Phil Chapman.
Their efforts resulted in a priority use agreement between Mecklenburg County and the league for Myers Park Trinity Little League to use some fifteen acres at the intersection of Randolph Road and Billingsley Road together with a several acre tract located across Kenilworth Avenue from Mid-Town Square and a Senior League field located on Independence Boulevard near Elizabeth School. This development ultimately included practice fields and soccer fields, six Little League fields for both baseball and girls' softball, one Senior League field, two T-ball fields, a soccer field, two auxiliary buildings and a concession stand with rest rooms.
All of these fields and buildings were constructed by volunteers who became affectionately known as the "usual suspects" under the strong leadership of visionaries Kip Kiser, Phil Chapman, Boyd Correll and Rick Rayburn and included Tom Marshall, Rick Hutchins, Mike Ross, Rick Magee, Bill Austin, George Barnett, Tom Cook, Robert Griffin, Carter Whitley, Harry Bryant, Barry Thackston, Bo Thomas, Steve Woodard, Landis Wade, the undersigned and others.
This complex at Randolph and Billingsley Roads is now named the Marshall-Caudle Little League Complex in honor of the popular, hardworking, most capable and long serving presidents of our league, Tom Marshall and Lloyd Caudle, Tom's predecessor. The practice fields and additional soccer fields adjacent to Mid-Town Square are named Pearl Street Park and the Senior League field is named Independence Park. The maintenance and expenses related to all of this are handled through a partnership of the County Park and Recreation Department and our league.
We constructed a superb concession stand, which is manned completely by volunteers and is centrally located in the complex. It remains the focal point and the social gathering point of all who visit and play. One can stand in the concession stand and essentially watch four games being played on the four playing fields, which encircle the stand. As an indication of the loyalty of our volunteers, throughout our history we have had only four head concessionaires, namely, the Red Robinson Family, Bill Newell, Sally Teden and presently the indispensable Barbara Thompson, assisted by George and Sheila Barnett, and Mike and Sherri Ross, and their children. Jim Roland and Dee Griffith, both of whom had children who played in our league, have also assisted through the years.
Barbara Thompson has three boys who played in our league for the Harry and Bryant team, each of whom ultimately became an Eagle Scout. She is described as indispensable because she not only manages the concession stand, but is responsible for handling all the details of the registration of the players in both the fall and regular programs, and is a member of our Board. As the saying goes, if you wish to know anything about our league, "ask Barbara, she will know."
Mike and Sheri Ross have two children, Michael and Daniel, who play in our league, both All-Stars. Mike is also a member of our Board and is the self-taught computer expert for the league, handling the league's Web site. In addition he, without any fanfare, regularly assists in maintaining the playing fields and the concession stand along with Sherri and their children, including their daughter Amy.
Sheila Barnett is the wife of George Barnett, our Minor League Program coordinator. She and George assist in the concession stand along with their children. Their son Stoney played for our league, has coached for years, assists in maintaining the playing fields and helps with the post-season tournaments.
For all these reasons we consider Barbara Thompson, the Barnett family, and the Ross family as indispensable volunteers in the operation of our league.
There is no limitation on the eligibility of girls playing in the boys programs, and in 1978 10-year-old Katie Boyer pioneered the play of girls. She was the first girl to be drafted to a boy's team, which was Al Browne. She was a superb player and competed equally with the boys. The following year, with the gentle persuasion of her parents, Katie turned her attention to tennis and became a ranked scholastic tennis star.
In 1979, a girls softball program was begun for girls aged 9-15 and this program has been eminently successful with various age group teams winning not only District Championships but also state, regional and area championships. Janis Rikard was the dominant force behind this success, having succeeded Maggie Miller, who was responsible for establishing the program.
Kip Kiser and Phil Chapman not only coached some of these teams, but they are still affectionately referred to as the "spiritual leaders" of this program. Also, Ray Dlugos was the highly successful coach of some of the All-Star teams and led them to several state, regional and area championships. Drs. Perry Sowell and Herb Clegg, along with Gibby Daniel, Tom Dawkins, Randy Allen, Richard and Betty Hechenbleikner, Amy and Steve House, Blucher Ehringhaus, Doug Buchanan and others contributed substantially as coaches towards the success of these teams.
In the early 1980's, Krissy Culler was drafted by and became a member of the Proposition 45 baseball team, and became the first girl to become a member of our league's All-Star baseball team. Krissy later graduated from the United States Naval Academy and presently is on duty there as a career naval officer and is assigned to the office of the Commandant of the Naval Academy.
Our league gives four annual awards, three to participating players and one to a team: the Fred Hasty Sportsmanship Award, the Johnny Nivens Award, the Chelsea Award, and the Billy Rice Award.
The Fred Hasty Award is given in honor of the late Superior Court Judge who died in a head-on collision en-route home from a basketball game at Wake Forest. He was one of the coaches of the Harry and Bryant team for a quarter century. While never having played baseball, he taught himself the fundamentals and details of the game, especially pitching, by studying the game and by reading books. What he taught was right and the young players knew it. He was an inspiration to all. He was also a master electrician by hobby, an accomplished musician, an eminent jurist, and an internationally recognized ham radio operator and Morse code devotee. This coveted award is given to the team whose players and fans display the best sportsmanship during each playing year, as voted by the coaches.
The Johnny Nivens Award is given in the honored memory of the late Johnny Nivens, a former talented and popular member of the Trinity Presbyterian Church team who died years ago in an automobile accident. It is awarded to one member of each team who possesses the qualities of unselfish team play and sportsmanship, which govern the principles of Little League Baseball. The recipient is determined by the coaches of each individual team.
The Chelsea Award is given in the cherished memory of Chelsea Hard, a much-revered participant in the girl's softball program who died from cancer at an early age. It is awarded to one member of each of the girl's softball teams, who possesses those same qualities of unselfish team play and similar qualities, which govern the principles of the Little League Girls Softball Program. As in the Nivens Award, the Chelsea Award is voted on by the coaches of each particular team.
Finally, the Billy Rice Award is awarded by a vote of the Major League coaches to that one player in the Major League Program who most nearly exemplifies and represents the finest traditions of the Little League Program, including talent, unselfish team play, and duty to God, country and love of the game of baseball as expressed in the Little League Pledge. It is given in honor of the late Billy Rice who died in an auto accident some years ago and who participated for years in our Little League under the original coaching of his dad, Dr. Bill Rice and the legendary Barry Thackston.
Of course, the young players are the true reason for the existence of Little League. We have 50 years worth of memories of great games and great players; memories of wins and losses, and the joys and heart-breaks that bring tears to the faces of all of these great, young people. It is important for each of us to try to recall all of these players because no player is more important than the next, but space limits particular reference to but a few whose actions or skills stand out over the years:
The first ever home run hit in our league - on opening day in 1952 - by Clayton Bundy who played for Farmers Dairy.
The Reverend Johnny Wilson, who holds a league record of 16 home runs in a 15 game schedule.
Tanner L'Orange's striking out 18 of 19 batters in a particular game while walking only one.
Keith Fehring's three consecutive home runs in one game, a league record.
Will Rikard's great consistent play through the years. Will went on to stardom at Wake Forest, played in the College World Series and is presently playing and coaching professionally in Sweden.
Three outstanding Payne brothers were in our ranks - David, Steve and Eddie. Eddie went on to stardom as a Wake Forest basketball player and made the ACC All-Star team. He was voted the MVP in the conference tournament after starting off as a walk-on.
Johnny Richards was a great left-handed pitcher who later starred in Legion ball, Babe Ruth ball and at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
John Fitch was great while playing for American Credit and later was an outstanding basketball player at Appalachian State. He is the Uncle of Dennis and Jack Myers, equally outstanding players in our league.
Rick and Yvonne Rayburn have four children who were outstanding athletes in our league, Trey, McCord, Cowden, and Lowell.
Mike Cofer starred in our league as a member of the Al Browne team. He later was an All Pro kicker with the San Francisco 49ers.
Jeff Beaver, presently Director of the Charlotte Sports Commission, started his athletic career in our league, and later starred as a football quarterback at UNC and also played in the NFL.
Landis Wade was a member of our Major League All-Star team and currently coaches the Christ Church team. He is also the Commissioner of Pop Warner Football in this area, having played football at Davidson College. His son, Hamlin, plays for Christ Church and his daughter, Jordan, was a member of the All-Star softball team.
We have watched Joe Cherry, the most recent recipient of the Billy Rice Award, work his magic on our most recent All-Star team, which also included home run hitters Randall Masters, Matthew Miller and Reid DeRamus, and captain Dennis Elliot.
Connor Gavigan was another member of the most recent All-Star team and one of our most outstanding pitchers and all around players. Connor suffered a fractured wrist at the commencement of play in the Regular District Tournament. All present will remember his courage in attempting to play through his injury, and especially his loyalty and dedication to his team as shown by his continuing to practice and dress for each game despite being unable to play.
Steven Woodard starred in our program, and is now a professional golfer.
Raleigh Shoemaker was a highly successful coach and his son, Raleigh, Jr. was an All-Star performer and later was a member of the Duke University golf team.
Joe Thompson starred in earlier years, and later played football and baseball at VPI after graduating from East Mecklenburg High School.
Pres Ruddell starred at UNC-Chapel Hill and later played baseball professionally in the Twins organization for the old Charlotte Hornets.
And we have watched siblings of numerous families through the years, including a number of twins:
Andrew, Dewey, Clement and Sam Teden
Andy, Kelvin and John Anderson
Jamie and Frankie, sons of Sarah and the late Bob Bryant
Michele, Payton, Dennis and Jack Myers, children of Dennis and Janet
Anna, Adam and Ben, children of Bill and Katie Brown
Maggie, Ryan, Tommy and Connor, children of Dr. Tom Gavigan and his wife Alice
Shaw, Bryan and Eric, sons of Carol and Faison Kuester
Bo, Bennett and Craig Thomspon
George, Ward and Matt McClanahan
Matt, Will and Chris Chapman
Grainger, Cameron, and Gordon, sons of Lloyd and Dottie Caudle
The Carmichael twins, John and Cart
The McAdams twins, Matt and Scott, and their older brother, Judson
The Menacher twins, Scott and Steve
The list could continue for as many pages as there are former players. Though I've not mentioned all our athletes by name, it is evidenced by this citation that the young men and women who have passed through Myers Park Trinity Little League have been abundant in both athleticism and character.
As to our future, this is assured as long as we attract such families as that of Rich and Tasse Little who have a "stair-stepped" family of four boys, Will, Jake, Ben, and Sam ages 11, 9, 7, and 5, and the Gavigans, who not only had four children play in our league, but also contributed or donated through their sons, Tommy and Ryan, the renovation and upfitting of the old concession stand and six homemade picnic tables presently in use at our new concession stand, as their Eagle Scout projects. And to lead the children of these families we continue to call upon great, young and energetic coaches like Rich Little, Brandon Merchant, Rob Hord, Joe Lucas, Greg Keith, Richard Dunn, Milt Childress, Clay Kiser, Vernon Knight, Stoney Barnett and T.J. Hooper.
Myers Park Trinity Little League has coaches and other volunteers who, for the love of the game and of the young athletes and for no compensation at all, return year after year, not only to coach but also to maintain the playing fields, operate the concession stand, assist in signing up players, assist in selling sponsorships and advertisements and in other types of fund raising and all other things that are necessary to operate a youth baseball and softball program.
These are persons like Bob Baynard and George "Lefty" Carver. For a period of more than thirty years, Bob has not only had two sons play who were outstanding, but has also been a greatly respected coach of the Harry and Bryant team, a president of the league and a Board member. George was one of our league's most competent and longest serving coaches. A former outstanding pitcher at Duke, he guided the Al Browne team for nearly twenty years and was especially popular among players and parents for his gentle, fun-loving approach to the game. Other dedicated coaches and volunteers include those persons and organizations whose names are set forth in the attached Addendum.
Often we are asked the question "why don't you put away childish things and grow up?" In response we are quick to say -- what could be more important than to be among these young people and their unadulterated minds where everything is right and as it should be with the hope and the chance that such will rub off on all of us so that the world will be a better place within which to live?
Our league has also enjoyed the benefit and leadership of the various Boards of Directors and officers, excellent coaching and teaching from good men and women, and the dedicated and unselfish leadership of the various presidents of our league through the years. This includes, Jack Starnes, the first president, followed by Mack Jones, T.R. Lawing, Sr., Cecil Clark, the late Larry Holland, Jim Cofer, Bob Baynard, Lloyd Caudle and Tom Marshall, our current and longest serving president. Tom has been supported through the years by Cynthia, his gracious wife. She is the "First Lady of Myers Park Trinity Little League."
As to Tom Cook, he recently went into "semi-retirement" as the dedicated, long-serving coach of the Cameron-Harris team, along with Carter Whitley. Their team record was rather shaky for the first year and there came a time during that initial period when Tom asked me, "If we ever win, who do we tell?" Thereafter, his and Carter's team became league champions and the two of them were honored to coach the All-Star team.
Incidentally, Carter rose through the ranks from that of being simply a father of a player to a T-ball coach to the T-ball commissioner, to Minor League coach, to the coach of a Major League championship team, to the co-coach of our All-star team. As Carter says, "the typical route to success of a former college football great and a Hampden Sydney College graduate." He, too, is now "semi-retired" from our league and both he and Tom have been outstanding Boy Scout leaders. Both contributed unselfishly as volunteers to our league, as coaches, charter members of "the usual suspects" and Board members.
For almost a quarter century our Major League Coordinator has been Robert Griffin, the capable, popular, successful and knowledgeable veteran coach of the Carolina Pad team. His responsibility is to establish and enforce the rules and regulations of the 10-12 year-old program. Currently, there are eight Major League teams, whose managers collectively represent over 250 years of coaching in our league:
Al Browne, managed by Bill Austin Bryant Electric Supply Company, managed by Mark Crowther
Carolina Pad, managed by Robert Griffin
Christ Church, managed by Landis Wade
Cameron Harris, managed by Tom Cook through 2001 and T.J. Hooper in 2002
Harry and Bryant, managed by the undersigned
Park Meridian Bank, managed by Lee Muhleman
Trinity Presbyterian Church, managed by Zan Copeland
For approximately three decades, George Barnett has been the Minor League Coordinator. George is likewise a popular, veteran coach in our league and is involved in almost every aspect of our operation. If you want to know something, George has the right answer or solution. There are a number of 8- and 9-year-old teams in the Minor League program, whose sponsorship and management has evolved over the years. And at this time there are two Minor League teams for 10- to 12-year-olds; namely, T. R. Lawing whose previous managers include Joe Rempson and Bruce Henning; and RudolphMoore Properties (formerly sponsored by the Shally Group), managed by Barry Thackston and Dick Brown.
Barry Thackston has coached in our Minor League Program for several decades. He has always carried a big stick, but has a soft heart and a caring hand for these young players, as does his friend and co-coach Dick Brown. Both have had the opportunity to coach in the Major League program, but have declined because of their admirable feeling that they can better serve our youth by coaching these young players "where the action is."
Rick Hutchins is the Senior League Coordinator and through the years has been assisted by Harry Bryant and Mark Crowther, all great athletes and teachers. Rick succeeded the much-revered Tom "Grumps" Johnson who was the original Senior League Coordinator. Rick quietly and efficiently goes about the performance of his duties in organizing and operating the Senior Program. Not only that, he assisted in the actual development and construction of the Senior League Field at Independence Park and has assisted in the coaching of the Trinity Presbyterian Church Major League team.
Our league has operated a Fall Ball program for years. The purpose of this program is primarily instructional and is for the development of players as they prepare for the spring and summer regular league competition. This program was originally conceived and implemented by Bo Thomas, Pete Ayers and Zan Copeland. After its commencement Bo Thomas became the first Fall Ball Coordinator. These three men also coached teams in the regular season and were great and inspirational teachers and coaches in both seasons. The T-ball program, for the past number of years, has been in the capable hands of Carter Whitley originally and then Brad Stipp and Spencer Brower.
No history of Myers Park Trinity Little League would be complete without further mention of Boyd Correll and Kip Kiser. Boyd and his wife, Ann, and Kip and his wife Carol, have children who played in our league and were members of our All-Star teams. In addition, Boyd has coached at every level of the Boys Program, and Kip has coached at every level of the Girls Program, including a number of our All-Star teams. Also, each is a charter member of the aforementioned "usual suspects" and as such, both were instrumental in moving our league from E. C. Griffith Field to the present location. As much as anyone, they maintain these fields, cutting and planting grass, constructing stands, buildings, etc. In addition to Tom Marshall and Tom Cook, they are the only other "certified operators" of our league's now famous blue tractor.
Each, in his own way is a major, major contributor to our league. However, their collective importance can be summed up thus: If the lights need to be turned on, call Boyd or Kip. If the lights need to be turned off, call Boyd or Kip. If a drainage pipe needs to be repaired, call Boyd or Kip. If one needs personal protection, call Boyd or Kip. If one wants to learn to play ball, call Boyd or Kip. One is just as likely to see either or both at these fields in the mist of early morning as in the dark of the evening in locking the gate at the end of the day. If you doubt me, ask Ann or Carol.
Another outstanding contributor to our league is Zan Copeland, the long-time and successful coach of the Trinity Presbyterian Church team. He has coached in this league for 32 years. Through the years, Zan has been a fixture as one of our Major League coaches, in both the spring and fall seasons, and has added immensely to the success of our league. Bill Austin is the loyal, dedicated and popular veteran head coach of the Al Browne team who doubles as the league's volunteer electrician. He is one of the mainstays of our league. Lee Muhleman, too, has been an outstanding coach in our league for many years and is assisted by the most capable Bowen Caldwell. Though he has no children, Lee has been dedicated to our players and league as a labor of love.
When discussing longevity one must point out Rick Magee, the veteran coach of the Carolina Pad team, along with Robert Griffin. Rick also serves as an Assistant District Administrator, which is a distinguished position in Little League Baseball. Rick and Robert are the "official unofficial" interpreters of the playing rules, and Rick has the thankless job of preparing the playing schedule and practice schedule each year for our 36 participating teams.
We have had at least one, and perhaps more, family coaching traditions. Dr. John Archer, Jr. coached the Eckerd Drug team for many years and was one of the outstanding coaches of our Major League All-Star team. He was followed by John, III, an equally outstanding coach, and now we have Charlie, who enthusiastically and energetically coaches in the footsteps of his brother and his dad.
In 1995, our league undertook substantial indebtedness in moving our playing fields from the original site to their present location. To meet this challenge Bridgett Thompson and Herman Moore organized and conducted the first Capital Campaign in order to seek contributions from the public. These two and the others who assisted them provided absolutely essential service to our league by their tireless, unselfish and successful campaign in substantially reducing this indebtedness.
It is a time-honored tradition in our league that former outstanding coaches and present neighbors, Tony McNay and Mike Toomey, appear annually in the early spring and supervise the tryouts for our various teams. This, once again, indicates the dedicated loyalty to our league of supporters long after their children have aged out.
Each year we have an opening ceremony, at which time the president of our league signals the start of a new season, welcomes all the players, their families and friends, and all of the young players of all of the teams proudly parade onto Founders' Field. This ceremony includes the Presentation of the Colors and the playing of our National Anthem.
For more than ten years, we have been honored to have Boy Scout Troop 33 of Sardis Presbyterian Church, whose scoutmaster is the veteran Thom Sumner, perform this impressive, somber and patriotic ceremony. This year will be no exception, as the ceremony is especially pertinent at this time in our nation's history, and we once again welcome Scoutmaster Thom Sumner and his troop to this event. Michael and Daniel Ross have both had their turn at rendering our National Anthem in recent years, as will again be the case at this 50-year celebration of our league. This year the saxophone will be the instrument of the day.
Bill Porter, too, has through the years been an invaluable volunteer in our league, wearing many different hats; namely as a parent of two outstanding players, as an officer and Board Member, and as legal counsel for the league under whom all of the legal work necessary for the establishment of our league as a not-for-profit corporation was provided.
Dennis Myers, the father of four outstanding players in our league, has for years been a member of our Board and our most capable Treasurer, succeeding the much beloved John Renger, now deceased.
Special mention should be made of Dr. Herb Clegg as an exceptional volunteer. He has contributed to the league in many and various ways. First, he has two boys who were outstanding players in the league, and he has a daughter who was an All-Star member of the girls' softball team. In addition to this, he is a member of the Board and has through the years been the league's standby pediatrician (always "on call"). He has also coached both softball and baseball. This past season he helped coach the boys' Major League All-Star team, and in past years he has coached in the highly successful girls' softball program.
So, our league celebrates its 50th year of existence through the generous efforts and loyalty of thousands of supporters, including team sponsors and business advertisers. Our league ultimately came about through the wisdom and foresight of Donald and Bob Bryant, and Al Browne, the generosity of the Board of County Commissioners, the Park and Recreation Department and the E. C. Griffith family. It also includes the contributions of players, volunteers, coaches and other men and women, even after their children age out. All of these individuals and organizations have shown dedication to the principles of Little League Baseball, to teaching the disciplines of this Native American game, to the competitive will to strive to win, to physical fitness through individual sacrifice, to the values of team play and to wholesome well-being through healthful and social association with all youngsters under proper leadership.
At an address in 1989 to the 18th International Little League Congress, the late Dr. A. Bartlett Giamatti, former president of Yale University and, at the time, Commissioner of Major League Baseball stated:
"It's very simple…because Little League kids are taught basic, fundamental down to earth values. They are taught about family and teamwork and honesty and fair play and leadership and orderliness and equality. They are taught about that peculiar and pleasurable comradeship that derives from competition … and they are finally taught as much about losing as about winning, which is what life will teach as well…"
Dr. Giamatti also referred to the World Series Program article about our league mentioned at the beginning of these recollections and quoted the following:
"Baseball is about homecoming… about family, and where the family gathers, which is at home. Baseball's about bringing us together … generations, genders, the family of a nation, around a place called 'home'."
We are proud that Myers Park Trinity Little League has survived the ages and looks toward the future with great optimism and enthusiasm. Thanks for the memories and thanks to all those who have contributed over the past 50 years.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
J.J. (Jake) Wade, Jr.
Coach, Harry and Bryant, 1957 - Present
Myers Park Trinity Little League could not have succeeded for 50 years without the generosity of volunteers and sponsoring organizations. These are persons and organizations like Linn Miller, Rick Rayburn, Robert Griffin, Cameron Harris & Co., Carolina Pad and Paper Company, Brett Denton, Jim Plyler, Dennis Myers, Rick Magee, Milt Childress, the late John Renger, Kip Corporation, Bill Porter, Park Meridian Bank, Zan Copeland, Tom Johnson, Tony McNay, Bill Newell, Bill Austin, Bridgett Thompson, County Board of Commissioners, Wayne Weston, Ralph Heedick, Rob Hord, Bob Hord, Fincher Jarrell, Blucher Ehringhaus, Park and Recreation Department, Dee Griffith, Pete Ayers, Wayne Ayers, Mark Ratcliffe, John DeRamus, Tom Cook, Boyd Correll, Bob Lawing, T. R. Lawing, Jim Walker, Brandon Merchant, Carter Whitley, Maggie Miller, Randy Wall, Brad Stipp, Greg Keith, Joe Lucas, Landis Wade, the late Al Browne, Casey Brawley, Bryant Electric Supply, Bo Thomas, Kathleen Quincy, Doug Buchanan, Herman Moore, Tom Dawkins, Mike Worley, John Rudolph, Steve Woodard, Barry Thackston, Steve and Amy House, Raleigh Shoemaker, Bill Brawley, Dale Sargeant, Dr. Herb Clegg, Joe Rempson, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Ed Peacock, Larry Farber, Bryan Kennedy, Mike Toomey, T. R. Lawing, Sr. and family, Dave White, the late Phil Hedrick, Mark Crowther, Carl Showalter, John and Jimmie More, Nate Fuller, Dave Neill, Gene Welchel, Scott Stevenson, Lee Muhleman, Bill and Katie Brown, Harry and Bryant Company, Dick Brown, Buck Buchanan, George Carver, the late Lem Whitsett, Susie Culp, Harry Bryant, Stoney Barnett, Gabe Shapiro, Larry Culler, Jim Roland, Michael and Sally Teden and family, Rick Hutchins, T. J. Hooper, Dr. John Archer, Charlie Archer, Bocock-Stroud Company, John Archer, Jr., Kip Kiser, Jamie Boyer, Hayes Castleman, Phil Chapman, Lloyd Caudle, Pete Williams, the late Bob Pierce, Dr. Perry Sowell, Richard Hechenbleikner, Robby Pierce, Hoppy Pierce, Alex, Ron and Kathy Whitaker, Tom Marshall, Vernon Knight, Bowen Caldwell, Mike Dutcher, Clay Kiser, Al Allison, George Tate, Don Modenbach, John Tate, George Higgins, Tom Cox, Katie Boyer, George and Sheila Barnett and family, Mike and Sherri Ross and family, Barbara Thompson, Richard Dunn, Janis Rikard, William Rikard, Ray Dlugos, Bill Johnson, Jimmy Wade, Jay Wade, Travis McCollum, Milt Emory, Rich Lyman, Mike Higgins, Buddy and Teddy Dubose, Gib Daniel, Spencer Brower, Randy Allen, Rich Little, Gene McLendon, Mike McLendon, Dr. Hugh Verner, and numerous others as might be omitted by oversight, but not for lack of importance.