Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Baseball Place No. 5: Little League International Complex

The six-hour drive across Pennsylvania on I-80 is brutally dull.

Lacking the mountains, tunnels and even rest stops you find on I-70, which stretches across the lower portion of the state, the I-80 trek is broken only by an occasional gas station and fast food place.

It must be bad, because one time my wife allowed me to pull off when we saw the sign for Williamsport and the Little League International Complex.

Josh Pahigian must have faced a similar dilemma, because he ranked the complex No. 5 in his list of the “101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out.”

We were headed back to Michigan from Sesame Place with our then 4-year-old in 1996, and the sign made it seem like the complex was right off the Interstate, a perfect place to stretch the legs and explore the gift shop.

Turned out it was quite a ways away – and it was raining -- so our visit was abbreviated and limited to the museum.

Williamsport, of course, is the home of Little League Baseball, created in the 1930s by Carl E. Stotz.

Any organization that properly honors Tom Seaver gets props from me. And Dan Quayle gets some love, too.

Pahigian makes note of the whole complex, which includes the museum, Lamade Stadium and adjacent Volunteer stadium.

It was a neat little museum, with some interactive exhibits and displays of uniforms and banners from leagues around the world.

My favorite part was the “Hall of Excellence,” which saluted people who played Little League baseball and went on the star in Major League Baseball or other areas.

I was pretty excited to see Tom Seaver enshrined, and it was a hoot to see people like George Will, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tom Selleck in their childhood uniforms.

The gift shop was pretty neat, too.

So if you’re making that cross-Pennsylvania journey and have a little bit of time, it’s worth visiting. Just don’t promise your spouse and toddler that it’s right off the exit.

1 comment:

Mike V said...

I had a very similar experience driving on Rte 80 from Columbus to Long Island. I was sure Punxsutawney was right off the interstate. It was not. But we did see the groundhog. Yeah, it was worth adding 3 hrs to the trip.