founder of Little League Baseball
Birthplace: Williamsport, Pa.
During the summer of 1938, lumberyard clerk Stotz gathered neighborhood children to discuss rules and scaled-down field dimensions for his dream baseball league for young boys that would be supervised by adults. He thought that adult involvement would eliminate the on-field bickering among players. They decided that the bases should be 60 ft apart and the pitcher's mound 40 ft away from home plate. He then appealed to local businesses for donations and to other parents for help in organizing Little League Baseball. Stotz, George Bebble, and Bert Bebble managed the first three teams. The first game was played on June 6, 1939, with Lundy Lumber pounding Lycoming Dairy 23–8. Stotz served as commissioner of the league until 1956, when he filed a lawsuit to block expansion of the league. The suit was settled out of court, and Stotz left Little League Baseball permanently. The first Little League World Series was held in 1947, and the series continues to be played each summer in Stotz's hometown of Williamsport, Pa.Died: 6/4/1992