BCB Turns 60
In 1955 Disneyland and McDonalds opened, gas was 23cents, the Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series, the average annual income was $4,137 and Boardman Little League was founded.
When the boys and girls of Boardman Community Baseball took to the fields this spring, it marked the 60th consecutive season that the youth of Boardman participated in organized baseball and softball under the Little League International organization banner.
The goal was to provide an organization run by volunteers supported by the community, and dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play.
The league consisted of 4 major division teams, boys ages 10-12 years old. There were over 270 boys that tried out for 60 spots on the 4 teams. Games were played in Boardman Park. Several years later two teams were added and the league operated with six teams thru the 1970 season.
In 1960 Boardman Youth Baseball was formed to serve boys ages 13-15 years old.
Clarence R. Smith was the first president of Boardman Little League and the sponsors of the 1955 teams included: Bears Club, Diamond Steel, Home Savings and Loan and Metal Carbides. For 60 consecutive years Home Savings and Loan has sponsored a team in the league.
Growth in the 70’s and 80’s
In august 1970, ground was broken for construction of two new ball fields and the development of Boardman Little League Park. Land was donated by Boardman Supply and construction was supervised by Chuck Schafer. Opening day 1971 the league hosted eight varsity teams at Little League Park and 12 jv teams playing in Boardman park.
Due to Little League rules Boardman Little League split into three leagues in 1972, east, west and southern park with 32 teams. Lights were added to the north and south fields in Little League Park in 1973. In 1975, girls softball was added fielding 11 teams. The boys program was expanded to include senior league for boys ages 13-15 years old.
At this point, Boardman Little League enrollment increased to 1200 players on 90 teams.
As Boardman Little League grew thru the 1980’s so did Boardman Youth Baseball. As both organizations expanded they saw the value of working together and merged in 1993, forming Boardman Community Baseball.
The dream continues in the 90’s
In 1992 Boardman little charted the first challenger program in Little League’s Ohio District 2. Chuck Billock and Woody Stone were the driving forces bringing this special program to life.
As BCB grew it was evident that a baseball complex was needed for the community. Thru the efforts of Clarence R. Smith jr., John York, Chuck Schafer, John Walsh, Marykaye Carlson, Frank Dravecky and numerous volunteers the fields of dreams went from paper in 1993 to reality in 1996.
With the opening of the Fields of Dreams in 1996, a complex second to none was available to the youth of Boardman with 1600 players on 130 teams.
Over the 60 years BLL and BCB have produce 25 state champions in baseball and softball culminating in 1981 with a Little League Senior World Series championship managed by Ray Bagdassarian and coached by, Ed Moore, BLL’s only world series champion. In 2007 BCB’s Jr. League girls appeared in the Jr. League World Series finishing 5th in the world. That team was managed by Rick Schafer and coached Joe Decapita and Joe Gabriele.
As with any non-profit volunteer organization, it is the hard work of many individuals that make it a success. For 60 years, volunteers have made it possible for the youth of Boardman to have an organized baseball experience. It is impossible to name everyone that has made BLL, BYB and BCB a success but there are a number of people that started the dream, continued the dream and now carry the dream forward that should be acknowledged.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s Del Gutierrez, Joe Ryan, Baylor Patterson, Jim Giannios, Tony Dicarlo, Joe Connelly, Bill Mitchell, Clarence Smith, Scotty Hay And Bill Bonte, Pete Armeni and Sam Morelli were beneficial in starting and growing our organization.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s key volunteers included past presidents Chuck Schaffer, Dick Agger, Bill Schaffer and Gordon Johnson as well as Denny Barrett, Louise Smith, Marilyn Vukovich, Gerry Beck, Jack Mayo, Terry Vanbrocklin, Bob Cavalier and Leigh Klingensmith.
In the 1990’s and 2000’s key volunteers include or past presidents John Walsh, Marykaye Carlson, John York, Sean Holmes, and Current President Tony Tarantino as well as Bob Carlson, Dennis Golubic, Rick Fryda, Bill Amero, Dave Matz, Tim Kaple, Joe Dickey, Paul Brock Sr. and Jr., Dan O’horo Sr., John Miller, Ken Frankin and Rick Schafer and many more.
The service organizations that have given their time and money include Boardman Lions, Boardman Boosters, Boardman Optimists, Bears Club, Boardman Kiwanis, FOP and Boardman Fire Fighters.
Since BLL’s humble beginnings, the mission of the program has remained unchanged, provide a wholesome healthy activity for children using the ball field as a classroom to instill discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play to establish a set of values to guide them into adulthood and hopefully, responsible citizenship.