Little League Baseball

Oscar Bielaski - 1st Polish Major Leaguer

At 50 Alexander Bielaski joined the Union forces with the rank of Captain in the regular army. He did so with a deep sense of loyalty to his adopted country, leaving behind him a family of seven.

While the official reports echoed with glowing accounts of Capt. Alexander Bielaski's heroic death on the battlefield of Missouri, on November 7, 1861, stark tragedy stalked the Bielaski home in Washington. The older Bielaski children sought immediate employment.

Toms River, New Jersey USA rolls to 1998

In 1995, Toms River, New Jersey, sent a team to the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, that was loaded with talent and considered one of the favorites to win the Little League Championship that year. However, games are won on the field of play and that particular team failed to advance past the qualifying round, leaving many people in the New Jersey community disappointed.

Making a dream

It all began late one morning... early Spring of this year... the air smelled mixed with just-cut wet grass and freshly-oiled leather baseball glove... the blending sounds of distant songbirds and close-by kid's voices were silenced by a distinctive "CRACK of the bat"... and I woke out of my dream. I didn't know, at that very moment, which was worse... the thought of climbing out of a toasty warm bed... or... the fact that I wasn't going to play baseball today... because there was no baseball where I was... a little border town in North-East Poland.

Finish Baseball?

Not in Finland! Baseball is so popular among the Finns that nearly 10% of the Finnish population are active participants in the game. All schoolchildren learn to play baseball at school. Thousands of boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 19 participate in organized baseball leading to an annual championship. The Finnish National Baseball Association is among the largest sports federations in Finland, with over 60,000 active athletes. At schools throughout the country it is the most popular game among girls.

Stanley Frank Musial, Take Me Out To The Ballgame

"Here stands baseball's perfect warrior, here stands baseball's perfect knight". These are the words inscribed on the monument dedicated to Stanley Frank Musial by the people of St. Louis. It may seem strange at first to describe a baseball player as a warrior or knight; however, if we think of baseball players in a "jousting" context, we might appreciate the inscription.

Baseball's Return to Poland

For many years the assumption was made that baseball was derived from the British game of cricket. Today however, sport historians are re-evaluating this claim. Recent historical discoveries point to the fact that baseball resembles more the game brought to America by the early Polish settlers of Jamestown, Virginia (1609) known as "pilka palantowa". Zbigniew Stefanski in his "Pamietnik Handlowca" ("An Industrialist's Memoirs") of 1625, gives the facts of the Polish game and even names some of its players.

Reminiscences of Little League Alumni

Through its half century, Little League Baseball has been a thread that sews together the lives and memories of many people. It is a common tie, a conversation-starter, a shared tapestry of experience that stretches across the years. People meet in boardrooms and offices, in schools and universities, in clubs and restaurants, on golf courses and playing fields - and the time of Little League Baseball often comes back in a rush.

Palant and cricket family resemblances?

Two games, both played with bat and ball, both involving hitting, running, and catching the ball, both with their origins in traditional folk games. One originated in Upper Silesia and Opole District, and may have been transferred to the United States by Polish and German immigrants, where, some claim, it served as the inspiration t'or baseball. The other began as a game by country boys in old England, grew gradually into an organised sport with defined rules, and was exported to the British colonies.

A Decade on Diamond

In 1986, baseball in Poland took an enormous leap forward when a Polish-American teacher from Connecticut visited Poland "to see where his dad grew up". While there, Stan Kokoska quickly realized the great interest young Poles had in all things that were American, and baseball in particular. He envisioned Little League baseball not just as a sport for young Poles to play during the summer months, but as a way to build character and foster unity and cooperation among them.

Kutno the center of a new Europe

It is a thrill for me to be involved in this project. As a Peace Corps Business Volunteer assigned to Kutno it is my job to help both the city and Little League to reach their objectives. Considering that what one side says and the other side hears may be completely different, I try to stress the importance of good communication to my Polish counterparts and share with them the American viewpoint.