By Chris Parsons / Sports Editor
Seventy-five years is a long time, but in baseball years it seems like days.
While Major League Baseball has been in full swing for a few weeks now, for about 2.4 million boys and girls worldwide, the real baseball season will get started over the next few weeks as Little League Baseball kicks off its 75th season.
Locally, the Corbin Little League season will get started today at Rotary Park, where the program will kick off it’s 56th season of Little League baseball.
League President Jeff Chadwell said he expects another successful season, but more importantly, a season full of fun while learning the game of baseball.
“We have a good group of kids out this season and just like every year, opening day is a lot of fun,” Chadwell said. “It’s always fun to see all the returning faces, whether it's kids that are coming back from the season before or if it's kids that have been through our league and come back to volunteer their time with the league in some capacity or another.
“We’re looking forward to another fun season of baseball and we’re hopeful that the kids have fun and learn not just about baseball, but about what Little League stands for,” he added. “We’re proud of our program and we’re proud of our facilities, so it’s always a lot of fun to start a new season.”
While the Corbin Little League is one of the oldest leagues in southeast Kentucky, it certainly isn’t the only one. Knox County, South London, North Laurel and Williamsburg all hold Little League charters and have each been competitive in the program in the local, state and national level recently.
The Knox County All Stars recently brought home a third consecutive (Minor and Little League combined) state title, advancing to the Central Region Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind.
While Corbin will open its season today, other surrounding leagues have yet to make their schedules public. First pitch for today’s opening game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Corbin’s Rotary Park.
Little League fun facts
1. Founded in 1939 by Carl Stotz with three teams, each with 10 players.
2. The first three teams were sponsored by Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber and Jumbo Pretzel, starting the tradition of local businesses supporting and sponsoring Little League teams, just like today.
3. Headquartered in South Williamsport, Pa., with five regional offices in the United States and four internationally.
4. 2.4 million boys and girls play Little League worldwide.
5. Little Leaguers range in age from 4 to 18.
6. Little League is played in 83 countries and in all 50 states.
7. In 1948, U.S. Rubber, the maker of Keds, became Little League’s first national sponsor. The partnership led to the development of rubber-molded cleats, still used today.
8. Dugout, the official mascot of Little League, was designed by Walt Disney Imagineers, and introduced in 1985.
9. 47 individuals are members of the Little League Hall of Excellence.
10. Former Little League President and CEO and current Little League International Board of Directors Member, Dr. Creighton J. Hale helped develop the double-ear flap batter’s helmet, catcher’s helmet, chest protector with throat guard and the non-wood baseball bat.