South Williamsport, PA
Review by Gary
On June 6, 1939, the first Little League game was played in Williamsport, Pa. A $30 donation was sufficient to buy uniforms for each of the first three teams, named after their sponsors: Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber, and Jumbo Pretzel. Eight years later, eleven teams participated in the first Little League World Series, then known as the National Little League Tournament. In 1959, Lamade Stadium was built to become the home of the Little League World Series.
Lamade Stadium is nestled in a dug out crater in the hills of Williamsport, PA and under the watchful eye of a statue of the Mighty Casey (of Casey at the Bat lore). I visited this hallowed ballpark a day after the championship game of the 2016 LLWS. There was still an advertising blimp floating overhead, waiting for its next assignment.
Lamade Stadium’s field dimensions are 2/3 the size of a regulation ballpark, but that’s the only thing diminutive about this stadium. Holding up to 10,000-seated fans and another 30,000 on the massive grassy berm on the outfield side of the crater, Lamade looks like a great place to watch some baseball.
Lamade Stadium and was named after a fellow who served on the Little League Board of Directors for many years in the 1950’s (and who also ponied up some dough for its construction). The ballpark itself has gone through a number of renovations over the years as needed, most notably in 2006, when the outfield fences were moved back 20’ due to the preponderance of home runs. Were the balls juiced or was it the 2nd bowl of Wheaties that caused this increase in dingers? We’ll never know.
More concerned with fan safety than souvenirs flying into the stands, the entire grandstand seating area is protected above and around with netting. The LLWS folk also did a great job decorating the outer concourse of Lamade with huge banners of former Little Leaguers and a world map indicating the origin of the current year’s teams. Lamade Stadium is a cool ballpark in Southern Williamsport, PA, a sleepy town that becomes a thriving baseball mecca for a few weeks every summer.