Frederick American Little League...Where Childhood Dreams Become Lifetime Memories

Frederick American History Since 1954

Please be sure to tour our history page.  Scroll down and see photos and stories!
These pages are made possible as a result of the hard work 
and dedication of former AMVET, Kevin Bream

Why Are We Called Frederick American?

The subject of this week’s spotlight ponders a couple of questions, “Why did we want to form a second league anyway”?  The answer was fairly simple.  It was a requirement.  Frederick Little League (what we now know as Frederick National) was formed in 1951. In only their third summer of operation (1953) they won the state all-star tourney and fell one game short of the regional title and a trip to the Little League World Series.  But when Frederick Little League applied for their 1954 charter, Little League Baseball Inc, granted that charter, but said that by the 1955 season they had to start a second league.  This was due to Little League’s Rule #1 which stated: “A league shall be composed of four teams.  It must limit its boundaries to, and draw players from, an area which includes not more than 15,000 in population.”  Since Frederick's own population had surpassed the 15,000 mark by this time, they were required to form a second separate four team league.  “Each separate league, continued the rule, must contain its own separate boundaries.”  It was decided, with less than a month left before Frederick American’s inaugural game that it would be better to get the new league up and started in 1954; though not yet franchised by Little League Baseball Inc.  That way the league would be well underway by its franchisement in 1955.  In a hurry, many people came together to form the league board and make plans.  Even Frederick Mayor, Donald B. Rice, offered uniforms and other equipment that had been used by a previous Baker Park baseball league; presumably no longer in operation.  

So how did we get the name Frederick American anyway?  You can sort of thank the city of Hagerstown for that.  In other towns with populations over 15,000 they often named each of their multiple leagues by the town name first and a sub-name second.  In 1954, Hagerstown had three leagues (American, National, and Federal).  Therefore Frederick, a two league town by population parameters, chose Frederick National for its original league; and Frederick American for its new league to be franchised in 1955.  Frederick stayed within the two league parameters until the mid to late1960s.  That's when the city's population growth would require the addition of the third city league; East Frederick Little League

Frederick American Alumni

Is your name missing?  Email [email protected] to be added!

Player           FALL Team              School                       Status

Adams, Hank Naturalawn Salisbury State Graduated - Baseball    
Cox, Riley Elks Salisbury State Graduated
Cuomo, Christian Amvets Frederick High School USMC  
Hyssong, Taylor Elks UNCW  8th Round Pick: Atlanta Braves
Jackson, Josh Amvets Frostburg State Football     
Kight, Russ Elks West Virginia Graduated       
Kight, Tyler Elks Frostburg State Graduated     
King, Jimmy Kiwanis York College Graduated - Baseball
Lanning, Jimmy Kiwanis Salisbury State Graduated - Baseball     
Meekins, Nick Nateli                                                                                    
Nolan, Bryan Mount Aloysius Graduated - Baseball
Pryzgocki   April Shepherd University Graduated - Softball
Smith, Beau Sertoma FCC/Mount Union College Graduated - Baseball
Wilson, Brady Naturalawn West Virginia Graduated - Baseball
Wilson, Emily Elks Shenendoah University Graduated - Softball
Wilson, Matthew Elks Shenendoah University Graduated - Baseball
Witmer, Luke Sertoma Frederick High School USMC         
Ziegler, Judd Amvets Princeton University Graduated - Wrestling
Ziegler, Tucker Elks Brown University Wrestling

League Highlights by Decade

1954


1956
Opening Day Anomalies
Opening Day has oddly migrated progressively earlier in the calendar year through its 1st 60 years. In 1954, opening day was on June 14th. By the 1970s, play commenced the first week of May; and in more recent years mid- April has signaled the beginning of the new season. In perhaps the oddest of “Opening Day Coincidences”, we spotlight two seasons in particular.  In 1956, the Amvets were no- hit by Oxco Fibre’s Bill Carder, 9-0. It was the Amvets first game of their inaugural season in Frederick American. On May 12, 1973, the Amvets were no-hit on Opening Day again. This time it was Pete Kemlage of Donald B. Rice Tire Co doing the honors. Coincidentally, it was Donald B Rice’s first game of their inaugural season in the league as well. This makes the Amvets the only team to have ever been on the losing end of an Opening Day no-hit game; where one of the teams playing was playing their first game in team history.
 
An Early League Hero Turns Pro
The subject of our spotlight this week is early league hero, Benny Grove. Benny made the Oxco team as an 8 yr old in 1956 and his career only went up from there. By the time he was finished playing he had played every position but first base and made Frederick American’s league all-star team twice.  After his playing days in Frederick American, he went on to Babe Ruth and made the All-Star team there also. Benny was instrumental in Frederick’s Babe Ruth All-Star team going to the 1963 Babe Ruth World Series in Farmington, NM. Still later, Benny went on to three years as a Frederick High and American Legion standout, batting .400 and .397 respectively. But Benny’s biggest break came in the fall of 1965; when the 17 yr old signed to play with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. As not only a Frederick American’s first alumus to play pro ball, but also a County wide standout; Benny was inducted into the YMCA’s Alvin G. Quinn Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Hats off to early hero, Benny Grove.

1960
In 1960, the Amvets took a three season hiatus from the league for unknown reasons.  During this time, they were replaced by a team called the Bobcats.  It would be the Bobcats only three seasons in the league and the Amvets would return in 1964.

1963
Usually, a 12 strike out outing by the opposing pitcher means bad news for your team, but not if your pitcher is young left-hander, Clarence “Petey” Cooper. The subject of our discussion today features one of the finest pitchers in Frederick American history, during perhaps his finest hour. Much was new for Frederick American in 1963. The new field that would later be known as Angleberger was in it's first season of use and the Bobcats were scheduled to face Oxco for a sweltering July 1st evening contest. Oxco’s starter, Dennis Cahill would strike out 12 Bobcat batters that night, but he would only be a footnote to one of the finest games in league history. The night would belong to the Bobcat's starter, Petey Cooper; who when it was over, had nearly beaten Oxco single-handedly. Petey’s 4 runs, 4 hits, and 6 RBIs (including two home runs) would be enough to steal the game highlights, but it would be his pitching that made July 1, 1963 a memorable night in Frederick American history. Across six innings, Petey threw a 17 strike out, no hit, shut out to blast Oxco, 14-0. Inning after inning he would strike out all three Oxco batters who approached the plate. In fact, in the entire contest, only two Oxco batters would ever reach base. Oxco’s Karl Jacobson managed to draw a walk early and was stranded at first. Then, in the fifth, Jack Craw would ground to third and reach first on a throwing error; only to then be cut down by Bobcat first basemen, Linwood Jones, when Craw tried to make it to second on the play. Petey’s 17 strike out performance was not an anomaly or some crazy alignment of planetary bodies crossed with an evening of favor from the baseball gods. He was used to double digit strike out totals and had fanned 12 in one of his previous outings in June. In fact, his career , was only just beginning. Petey would go on to be a three sport athlete at Frederick High in the late 1960s. His career pitching record as a Cadet was 51-3, he starred on the hard court in basketball, and is perhaps best known for quarterbacking the Cadet football team to an undefeated 1968 season, throwing often to a young wideout named Chuck Foreman; whose own career later peaked in the Minnesota Vikings backfield. Petey’s high school passing records still rank as some of the best in Cadet history. In 1969, Petey was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds organization and he would begin a five year stint in pro baseball. Now in his early sixties, Petey still lives in the Frederick area; where he recently threw out the first pitch at a Frederick Keys game. Petey still makes his way down to Angleberger on occasion, to watch the game he loves- on the field where it all began. 

1975
The Case For Girls in Baseball
Saturday, May 3, 1975- was a red letter date in Frederick American history. Huddled on the Elks bench along the third base line was a 9-yr old girl named, Pam Lindquist. Though she may not have realized it, her trip to Little League baseball was a long and storied one. The privilege of being not only the first girl to play in Frederick American, but also the first in all of Frederick City, had come after a long and controversial court battle. In 1972, Title IX amended the Education Act of 1965 and got the ball rolling towards gender equal opportunities at the collegiate and post-secondary level. Soon courts were challenging Little League baseball’s 1951 banning of girls from their ranks. The 1951 ban seemed necessary after a girl, posing as a boy and tucking her hair under her cap, had made a team in NJ, in 1950. By late 1973 court battles in CA had ensued over whether an 11 yr old could play Little League baseball. In 1974, Little League Baseball changed its wording to include “young people” instead of its former wording ”boys”; and the stage was set.

The Frederick Post asked all three City League presidents their opinions on allowing girls to play Little League in June of 1974. One president was unavailable for comment. Another said they definitely shouldn't be able to play, because of the injuries they might incur. Only Frederick American president, Ron Baker, stated that if a girl “has the capabilities to beat a boy out then she is welcome to play on one of our teams.” Ron felt girls should go through the same tryouts as boys and was not concerned at all about injuries.

One girl had tried out for Frederick American and one in Brunswick that spring. Neither had made a team since not yet legal and the Brunswick one did not attend the minimum number of tryouts. Several girls were already playing in the non-affiliated county leagues. This made it fairly clear that a girl would join the ranks of a city little league team come 1975. As a 9 year old in the Amvet dugout that day in1975, the author of this piece remember the whispers that the Elks ”had a girl on their team”.

I stood at the fence to try to see if that could possibly be true, but remember quickly getting used to Pam as a fellow little leaguer and fierce competitor. But for teammate and Amvet hurler, Jack Spann, the memories would be ever so troublesome. The game was close with Jack pitching, and on a certain delivery, his best curve ball just never broke the way it was supposed to. Before he realized what was happening, he hit Pam on the left leg with the pitch. Even 39 yrs later, he recalls, “I grew up with four older sisters and I knew there was nothing more prohibited or classless than to hit a girl; most especially with your best curve ball! Now in front of all these people I had hit Pam and not knowing what else to do I walked right off the mound, right up to home plate where she was still wincing in pain, and stated that I was sorry” (not a real common practice in those days like it often is now).

For Pam Lindquist (now Blaney), May 3, 1975 was the first game of three full seasons playing for the Elks. She recalls it was awkward at first, but never regrets her baseball experience in the League. Over the years, boys and girls have gotten used to playing the game side by side; and most don't even realize there was once a time that it was forbidden.

Pam Lindquist Blaney still lives in the Frederick area and actually was honored to throw out the first pitch on F.A.L.L.’s Opening Day in 2009. 

1976

In honor of America's Bicentennial, The 1976 Amvets were issued a special team hat to commemorate America's 200th birthday. The Amvets would go on to win the 1976 league championship with a well fought win over the Elks.



A common sight during the mid-1970s. The waters of Carroll Creek rose often and caused much damage to Angleberger Field.


1977
In the words of our own hometown newspaper in 1977, Frederick American had a reputation of being a patsy in 11/12 All-Star play. In our first five years of existence, we never made it past the first round and had only reached the finals twice since. In those years of moderate success, we lost to Brunswick in the 1960 final on a passed ball in the 7th inning and again the following year when Brunswick pitcher Paul Barker threw a one hitter. So it was no surprise that by the time 1977 rolled around, nobody took Frederick American seriously. In fact, after we beat Frederick National in round one, our second round opponent, Sykesville, showed up on game night at the wrong field, believing there was no way we could have beaten Frederick National in round one. Then they started their second best pitcher figuring they’d save their ace for the District II title game. By the end of that night, Sykesville had fallen also to the big bats of Frederick American and nobody was laughing anymore.

Going into the title game against East Frederick, Frederick American fans realized they had used up a lot of the good fortune and their nine lives to make it to the title game. Their past history weighed more in favor of another loss than in walking home as district champs. The stats told the story. Our pitching was average, our fielding below average, but our hitting had brought the all-stars to Max Kehne Park and a possible date with destiny. In 1977, Sertoma alone averaged 16.1 runs a game and had 252 hits in just 18 contests and one batter, Troy Wilson, batted .683 on the season. In both Frederick American’s first two all star wins, the team had scored in double digits.

But season statistics aside, there was that past dismal history hovering over the Frederick American All Stars and when East Frederick scored 5 runs in the 5th to take a 9-6 lead, the clouds of past defeats began to darken the Frederick skies above Max Kehne Park. But the Frederick American All Stars wouldn’t go quietly and drew two bases on balls to start the 6th with the lead runner scoring on a passed ball. It was 9-7 with one out when catcher Robbie Naylor stepped into the box. Fans remember the crack of the bat to this day, the ball rising, and some will even say the exact place in center field where it cleared the wall. Naylor had hit a home run and tied the score! After scoring three more runs in the 7thinning and shutting down East Frederick in the bottom of the 7th, fans rushed the field and Frederick American celebrated their first district title in history!

Although Frederick American would fall to Hagerstown National in Division play on Aug 3, 1977, the 5-4 score showed they never stopped fighting their opponents or their past. There would be other all star teams in later years that succeeded in great ways, but the 1977 11/12 All- Stars deserve credit as the first to bring home a district title! 

1978
1978 Opening Day


1978 Opening Day


1978 Opening Day


1978 Amvets


1978 All Stars


Angleberger Action


Dave Tribble


Troy Wilson


Kevin Bream


2007
The Little Team That Could
Oddly enough, one of the most memorable parts of this week’s subject was the opening greeting of the parent’s meeting prior to 9-10 All-Star Play in 2007. The coach gathered the parents on the 1st base bleachers and called the meeting to order with the now famous statement, “We aren’t even going to talk about the other side of the Bay Bridge . . . (meaning Cambridge, MD and the site of the 2007 9-10 State All-Star Tournament)". Why talk about States when there was stiff competition throughout District 2 and the local teams. Little did that coach and parents realize that sooner than they could have imagined, they would be talking about just that bridge and just that tournament.

Some will argue that it all started in a nearly deadlocked opening game against East Frederick where 10 yr old, Chris Bream was given the bunt sign in an attempt to move base runners up in hopes of getting some sort of Frederick American rally started. The nearly perfect bunt that followed was fielded and promptly overthrown at first base. Bream took second as a run scored and then third on a panicked throw to the plate by the East Frederick fielder. And just like that, Frederick American had the lead and was off and running on a 9-10 yr old dream competition. They would defeat Frederick National, Westminster, and Four County, but as always seems to be the case, the chance to label the tournament a real success lay in getting by Brunswick at home, with their less than reverent home town fans in the District Title game.

Player prayers the eve before the district title game probably went something like, “Lord, please let us somehow some way either win this game tomorrow, or if we don't, please don't let our loss be an embarrassing blow-out.” But what Frederick American didn’t realize or ever expect was that two pitchers would throw a combined no-hitter that memorable Saturday and stun the opponents (and their fans) seizing the District 2 title and earning a trip to Cambridge and the State tournament!

The success of the 2007 team fell on the backs of players who had excelled all year as well as those that came through for the first time when it counted most. With nicknames like “Chick”, X-man”, and “#1”, they scraped, scrapped, and play fundamentally sound baseball under the careful coaching of some of the league’s finest coaching mentors. Even the fan base kept a strong barrage of encouragement for the 9-10 yr olds in red and blue. On arriving in Cambridge, Frederick American easily defeated a DC team and then a southwest Baltimore squad from Arbutus who were sharing the same hotel and clearly had no curfew the night before their contest. A tough Berlin team, however, handed Frederick American their first tournament loss and set up a must win semi-final against undefeated District 1 champs, Conococheague. The game was close all the way through. In the end, Conococheague outlasted Frederick American by just a single run, 4-3.

There were tears that followed, but assurances that they had, even in defeat, done something special that they would never forget. As the ball park emptied out that evening, the two opposing head coaches crossed paths in the parking lot, the last two to leave. The victor said to the defeated, “I sense the real championship was played tonight (as Frederick American gave Conococheague their only competitive game in the tournament). Conococheague went on to easily win the state title game the following day.

For the members of the 2007 9-10 team, lives have gone on but few have forgotten that magical summer trip to Cambridge in ’07. Most of the players are seniors in high school these days. Some are playing high school and Legion baseball, while others have left the game for other pursuits.

This week we celebrate their memory. Jordan Williams, Nate Schwemmer, Curtis Bowie, Miguel Pereira, Jon Mahalchick, Trace Russ, Maciah Thomas, Tucker Zeigler, Chris Bream, Travis Barbe, Xavier Sewell, Anthony Szelc, and coaches Rick Wilson and Bob Ziegler were by far, “the Little Team That Could”. 

2010
The Reasons We Still Play
In our final chapter, we pause to reflect on what makes Frederick American the special league that it is and ponder the question of why we keep taking the field after 60 Opening Days and counting. What keeps us involved in this game called baseball, investing in the youth of our community, and creating on- the- field memories that last a lifetime? For instance, the author of this piece hasn't played since I took the final swing of the 1978 Frederick American season (a fastball in the dirt that I had no business swinging at for Strike 3, incidentally) and my own two children suited up for the last time in July of 2008. But yet I continue to be drawn not only to the history of the league, but to volunteering time for photographing game action and participating in league fundraising events. Why is that and why have others stepped forward year after year with their own gifts to offer?

In the early days, David Grove and Charles Lewis Sr were two who stepped forward to coach the Tall Cedars and the Elks, respectively, and both still live in Frederick, now into their 80s and 90s. Robert Heller Sr, a career fire fighter, volunteered for seven years starting in the late 50s and early 60s to guide the Amvets through their early years in the league. People like these have made Frederick American great.

While in 1970, a young Hal Hawkins would emerge as manager of the Elks club. By the time he retired in 1985 (to watch his own kids play in the league) he had been manager of the Elks, league president, District 2 Administrator, and his wife Sharon had served as leauge president also. Brothers Larry and Frank Yanos guided Sertoma and the Amvets through most of the 1970s while the father-son duo of former postmaster, James Grove and his son, Jerry volunteered as umpires throughout the decade. People like these have made Frederick American great!

Many individuals have stepped forward to coach and umpire, but it’s the investment of local service organizations and businesses that continue to financially assist in the league’s many operating expenses. Businesses like One- Hour Martinizing, Donald B Rice Tire Co, Colonial Jewelers, and the Oxco Fibre Brush Company; Service organizations like the Tall Cedars, the Moose Club, and the trio of the Elks Lodge, The Amvets, and Sertoma, who have collectively sponsored 163 different teams in the league’s 60 year history. Our sponsors throughout the Frederick area have made Frederick American great!

Additionally, it’s not just the parents of current players that fill the ranks of volunteers. Todd Palm, for instance, spent four or five years in the early 1980s as the press-box announcer and league statistician. A local college student and Frederick native, he came to games six days a week, announced every game from the press-box, compiled every league player’s stats, and hand-carried every game result to the Frederick News-Post for publication in the following day’s edition of the paper. Or perhaps the late Buddy Myers, who was involved in youth baseball for three decades and spent many evenings in his retirement riding his bicycle (with dual rear baskets) over to Angleberger Park and sitting along the right field line. He knew every player by name, and when you made a great play, you could hear his cry break through the applause and cheers as he excitedly called out your name. People like these have made Frederick American great!

As we’ve reached more recent years, folks like Allen Witmer have stepped forward in his role as umpire. Allen’s been calling games since the year 2000, despite that his own son has been done playing for almost a decade now. Yet Allen remains working with as much dedication as when his own son was playing. These are the people that make Frederick American great!

But as the saying goes, every organization of this nature is only a single generation from extinction if no one steps forward to fill the spaces of those that lead today. Someday, today's leaders will be gone. Perhaps the Sertomas, Elks, and Amvets will be gone too. Frederick American needs you. Is little league baseball in your blood? Do you sell hotdogs in your sleep at night or run a scoreboard in your dreams? Have you been caught at work thinking about coaching or stood in front of your bathroom mirror to practice calling a batter out after strike three? Or do you aspire to serve on the board or maybe talk your employer or service organization into sponsoring a team? And when the waters of Carroll Creek start rising, do you feel a persistent urging from deep inside to drop everything, grab your garden rake and waders and head for Angleberger in crisis mode? If so, Frederick American wants you. You are the future of this league and tomorrow’s leaders and volunteers.

You are a part of the next 60 years and you, are WHAT MAKES FREDERICK AMERICAN GREAT!


Dustin Muse Sportsmanship Award


On December 6, 2006 Dustin and Courtney Muse were tragically killed in a vehicle accident.  Dustin was a FALL graduate and played his last little league years on Sertoma.  Courtney and mom Pam, and dad Don were fixtures at our park for many years.  In their honor we have installed a memorial bench overlooking Angleberger Field.  We have also established an award in Dustin's name.  Please see below for the winners of the Dustin R. Muse Sportsmanship Award.

Past Winners:
2018     Remington Bianchi, Elks
2017     Nathan Futrel, Amvets
2016     Dillon Boone, Sue Collins ReMax
2015     Scott Wilson, Elks
2014     Michael DeGirolamo, Elks
2013     Dylan Stacho, Sertoma
2012     Nathan Shoemaker, Sertoma
2011     Matthew Villanueva, Amvets
2010     Tucker Ziegler, Elks
2009     Jon Mahalchick, Amvets
2008     Nick Nolan, Amvets
2007     Conner Mills, Amvets

11-12 District 2 Champions

2017  Thurmont
2016  
2015  Montgomery County
2014  Frederick National
2013  Brunswick
2012  Brunswick
2011  Thurmont
2010  Brunswick
2009  Brunswick
2008  Frederick National
2007  Frederick National
2006  Thurmont
2005  Thurmont
2004  East Frederick
2003  Thurmont
2002  Frederick American
2001  Frederick National
2000  Frederick American
1999  Frederick American
1998  Frederick National
1997  Frederick National
1996  Frederick National
1995  Brunswick
1994  East Frederick
1993  Frederick American
1992  Frederick National
1991  Brunswick
1990  Frederick National
1989  Westminster
1988  Westminster
1987  Brunswick
1986  Brunswick
1985  Emmitsburg
1984  Brunswick
1983  Frederick National
1982  Brunswick
1981  Brunswick
1980  Frederick National
1979  Brunswick
1978  Frederick National
1977  Frederick American
1976  Sykesville
1975  Frederick National
1974  Brunswick
1973  East Frederick
1972  Brunswick
1971  Brunswick
1970  Frederick National
1969  Brunswick
1968  Brunswick
1967  Westminster
1966  Brunswick
1965  Brunswick
1964  Brunswick
1963  Frederick National
1962  Frederick National
1961  Brunswick
1960  Brunswick
1959  Sykesville
1958  Westminster
1957  Frederick National
1956  Frederick National
1955  Pen Mar
1954  Frederick National
1953  Frederick National
1952  Frederick National

Local Sponsors

Frederick American Little League

Frederick American Little League, PO Box 3242
Frederick, Maryland 21705

Phone: 240-422-6835

Email: [email protected]

Copyright © 2019 Frederick American Little League  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Login