For two towns, youth baseball has been a hit for 40 years Westminster Little League started with four teams

June 28, 1992|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- When the Westminster Little League program was formed in 1952, the first ledger showed costs in the neighborhood of $100 to $200.

Four teams played in that first year.

Now, 40 years later, 465 players on 32 teams played in four divisions this year. This year's budget eclipsed $50,000, with $15,000 spent on equipment alone

Little League Baseball remains an institution to the youth of America and Westminster is one of two county programs -- Taneytown being the other -- officially affiliated with the Williamsport, Pa., organization. Other youth baseball programs in the county are either affiliated with other groups or operate independently.

"Little League Baseball is the most well known organized youth sport in America and we're proud we can say we're part of Little League Baseball," said Gregg Quedeweit, president of the Westminster Little League program.

The program had a quiet celebration of its 40th year, highlighting the anniversary in opening day ceremonies. They will again make a note of it at the league picnic next month.

Forty years of baseball have brought some quality teams, special players and most importantly, a whole lot of fun to the the Westminster community.

"We're very fortunate to have had some very good teams the past few years," Quedeweit said.

"We won the state tournament in 1988 and 1989 and played in the Eastern Regional tournament in Connecticut -- one step away from Williamsport."

Jim Spencer is the only Westminster Little Leaguer to make it all the way to the Major Leagues -- and he did it in a big way.

His playing days began in 1957 with the Red Sox of the Westminster Civitan Little League.

The California Angels made the Taneytown native their 11th pick as a first baseman in 1965.

He made the most of his opportunity, playing on one all-star team (1973), winning a pair of Gold Gloves (1970 and 1977) and playing for the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees.

Scott Thomson has been the closest Westminster player to make the big leagues since Spencer. Last fall, the 23-year-old outfielder played with the Erie Sailors -- a Class A independent cooperative team in the New York Penn League.

Some of his first baseball experiences came in the Westminster program, playing one year in the minor division and three in the majors in the late-1970s and early 1980s.

"I think every little kid that age has dreams of playing professional baseball," he said.

"I would say the coaches out there who go out and spend their time trying to help make these young kids into baseball players is what sticks out most," Thomson said. "Also, the kids you meet and talking to them at school."

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