A new statue downtown Williamsport, Pennsylvania features former President George W. Bush, one of the town’s most notable visitors to come to the annual Little League World Series.
Celebrating 75 years of the tournament, the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce unveiled the final installation of the ‘Bases Loaded’ statue project on Sunday afternoon. The former president is featured standing next to Cy Young and Jackie Robinson.
“When I was playing Little League Baseball in Midland, Texas in the 1950s, never did I dream I would be so honored by Little League Baseball,” Mr. Bush said at the ceremony. “Little League Baseball – I’ve always felt this, I still feel it, is really important to our country. It teaches teamwork, and how to set goals, and how to work to meet them. And the self-esteem gained is the result of learning to play a difficult game.”
The widow of Jackie Robinson, Rachel, Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, were all part of the ceremony.
Mr. Bush, who is the first and only sitting president to visit the World Series, praised the organization’s impact.
“The thing about Little League is that it teaches friendship is important and I still am in touch with some of the guys I played Little League Baseball with, some 60 some years ago,” he said.
Good friendships are one of the many strengths of the Pearland Little League team.
“We have good friendships, and we also work as a team and we just have good attitudes toward things,” pitcher Kaiden “Bubs” Shelton said, including that he thinks the team has a pretty good chance going into the next game.
The undefeated Texas team will play game two at the international tournament on Monday night, when they will face Hawaii, another team that hasn’t lost.
“Definitely going to be a harder game than it was, more competition. But you know, that’s what we came here for,” said catcher Ethan Richardson.
The Hawaii team threw a no-hitter earlier in the series.
Monday’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Houston time.