Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keeping score at the 1982 Little League World Series

As the 65th annual Little League World Series continues this week in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and huge buzz1 continues to surround the Keystone Little League team from Clinton County, I am reminded of the Little League World Series games our family attended in the early 1980s when we were living in nearby Montoursville.

We made it to multiple World Series games in 1981 and 1982 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. My favorite part, as a 10- and 11-year-old, was how the stadium became a melting pot for baseball players and fans from all over the world -- Europe, Asia, South America, Canada...

The Little League World Series was also where I made my first foray into learning how to keep score in baseball -- a skill that would come in handy during my later career in sports journalism.

One of my first scorekeeping efforts came at the Little League World Series championship game on August 28, 1982, when Kirkland, Washington, defeated Chiayi, Taiwan, 6-0. I sat with thousands of others on the outfield hill at the stadium as Cody Webster (pictured at the top of today's post), Mark Swain and Mark Peterson helped lead Kirkland to the title-game victory, which snapped Taiwan's run of five straight Little League World Series crowns.2

In retrospect, I'd say my scorekeeping skills as an 11-year-old were OK. My first mistake was clearly using a pen instead of a pencil, given that mistakes were inevitable. Also, I got a nice assist from my dad on the Taiwanese names on that side of the scorecard.

This prepared me well for my later professional coverage of the South Penn League, Adams County Little League tournaments, high school baseball and softball in southcentral Pennsylvania, and a couple Baltimore Orioles games.

Here, for posterity, is my full scoresheet from the 1982 Kirkland-Taiwan game. Below that is the Kirkland team picture that was included as part of a four-page program insert on the eight teams in that year's tournament.3

1. Check out this great blog entry on Keystone Little League by York Daily Record/Sunday News business editor Cathy Hirko on The Southpaw.
2. ESPN produced a "30 for 30" documentary on the Kirkland Little League team's championship and its aftermath. I haven't seen it, but this New York Daily News article gives it a mixed review.
3. Fun tidbit: The Latin American representative in 1982 was Coquivacoa Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela, which included future major-leaguer Wilson Álvarez.

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