Early Little League bat boy recalls first World Series | News, Sports, Jobs

Bill Young, one of the first bat boys to work the 1947 Little League National Baseball Tournament, which became the Little League World Series. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

At age 7, Bill Young was one of the first bat boys for the Little League World Series.

There weren’t many teams that first year, for which the series was called the Little League National Baseball Tournament, since Little League leadership wouldn’t adopt the World Series moniker until a few years later, but the ‘experience was enough to consolidate his love for baseball.

“I remember we didn’t win, but it was nice to be a part of it.” Bill remembered. “I remember the people sitting on the seawall.”

One thing is for sure: no one thought it would grow to the size and scope it has.

“It was pretty much a local thing,” he said “It’s come a long way.”

He grew up in Williamsport, first on Third Street near where the pedestrian walkway is now and then on Mansel Avenue. His brother Larry Young played for LL Stearns in Brandon Little League that year. Bill himself would go on to play in the Brandon Little League for about four years. His mother would also bus them both across town to watch the Original League games.

“My mom was a big baseball fan,” Bill said. “We would make lunch and go.”

The love of baseball would be passed down from generation to generation. Bill’s son played Little League in the Original League and now his great-grandchildren are eager to play.

As a kid, Bill and his brother also went to minor league games. Later, after enlisting in the US Army and serving as a paratrooper, he returned to Bowman Field, parachuting as Santa Claus during a promotion for Tri-State Discount.

Bill said he learned some important lessons from Little League. He learned to show up on time—his manager was one “big stickler” because of this, and learned to have a positive attitude in his endeavors.

“Even if you lost, it was a good day,” Bill said.

Bill now lives in Williamsport, near the high school, for six months of the year and winters in Florida. When he tells Floridians he’s from Williamsport, they usually tell him they watch the Little League World Series games. Sometimes, he says, he’ll tell them about his childhood experiences with Little League and the first Little League World Series.

“I’m proud to be from Williamsport,” Bill said.

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