On May 16, 1976, the Brookline Little
League held an opening day parade, celebrating 25 years as a chartered
organization in the Williamsport Little League Association. With the United
States of America celebrating the Bi-Centennial and just about
everything that year being dedicated to the "Spirit of '76", the local
Little League held a special dedication for two of it's own founding
fathers, Joe Powers and Bud
Auen, both 25 year members
of the neighborhood organization.
In keeping with the Bi-Centennial
spirit, a police escort led the way down the Boulevard, followed by an honor
guard dressed in traditional Revolutionary War clothing and playing the fife
and drums. The parade began at the firehouse and ended at the Community
Center fields. All of the league's eighteen teams were present, with the Minor
Leaguers, Little Leaguers and Senior Leaguers all joining in the celebration.
The Boulevard was lined with cheering residents, who came out on this special
day to cheer on the community's young ballplayers.
Once the uniformed throng arrived at
the fields, they all lined up along the Little League outfield fence for
the special dedication. Mr. Auen, a former coach and longtime umpire, and Mr.
Powers, a twenty-five year manager, were both awarded special gifts and allowed
to throw in the first pitches to start the new season.
I had played for Mr. Powers with the
B.Y.M.C. team during my four years in Little League and remember how thrilled
I was at the time to see him honored for his service. He was not just a skilled
manager, but a friend and mentor, one that I would never forget. The same can
be said for Mr. Auen, a man who umpired behind the plate nearly every game for
as long as I could remember. He was a fair man who had a special way of
dealing with the kids. He was respected by everyone and his contributions to
the league and the children of Brookline can never be understated.
Today, the parade is an annual event,
marking the start of another season of Little League baseball. Below are a few
more pictures taken by Joe Brendel documenting the 1976 Little League
parade. It seems like only yesterday that this took place. For so many of us
present that day, playing Little League baseball at the Community Center will
always be one of our best memories.
Click Here to
see a short sequence of photos from the first game played on opening day,
featuring B.Y.M.C.'s Chris "Fritz" Brendel scoring the first run of the 1976
season. The photos show a lot about what Little League baseball was "back in