PRLL HISTORY


Pearl River Little League was originally organized in 1953 by members of the Pearl River Rotary Club, and began play with four Major Boys teams in 1954 at Dexter Park.  Further details of its founding and growth can be found in the 50-Year Journal, which was prepared in 2003 in conjunction with the celebration of the League's 50th Year. 

The Journal, along with its photos and articles, have been uploaded to a separate Photo site.  A link (in red letters) is provided below. 

                                                          PRLL HISTORY JOURNAL AND PHOTO SITE      

The Journal is divided into sections (e.g., 1953-65; 1966-80; the 1980's; the 1990's; 2000-03; as well as a general chronology).  The site consists of several photo albums.  The first contains the entire Journal (which is also reproduced in WORD format - this can be found in the "Files" tab on the Photo Site).  There is an additional photo album for each decade (the photos being a larger format than depicted on each Journal page) up to 2009.  An album for the period 2010-2019 is currently being prepared. 

If you have a photo, article, etc. that you think should be included in PRLL's history, please email it to [email protected].  Thank you.  

PRLL Chronology 1953 - 2003


AN OVERVIEW:                                PRLL CHRONOLOGY (A Work in Progress)

Year

Event

 

 

1953

Pearl River Little League is organized by the Pearl River Rotary (George Hadeler, President), assisted by a 4-man “baseball committee” of Art Hopper, Alfred (Mooney) Bocket, Ken Munkelt and Brit Patterson. Bill Timmerman, a Rotary member and a key fund-raiser, becomes the first PRLL President. PRLL becomes the fourth Little League in Rockland County, joining North Rockland LL, Nyack Booster LL and the first-year Clarkstown LL.

1954

Rotary members incorporate the League and obtain the first official Little League Charter. Mooney Bocket’s Giants make Chuck Scarpuli PRLL’s first draft choice. First official games are played at the Jefferson Ave. field (called Dexter Field, for the owner, Dexter Folder Company), which was a former swamp filled with foundry debris, on 6/14/54. The Dodgers defeat the Yankees, 6-5, when Frank McGarvey hits first PRLL home run at Dexter Field. In second game, C. Grando strikes out 13 to pitch the Giants over the A’s, 1-0. Brit Patterson’s A’s team, however, wins the first Majors championship.

1956

Majors (Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, A’s) expand to 6 teams, adding the Cubs and Red Sox. (The Twins and Mets were added 6 years later). The League also adds the “AAA” division for 9 year-olds.

1959

Paul Ferguson takes over as PRLL’s second President, replacing Bill Timmerman.

1961

 

Rockland County Tournament of Champions organized by the Journal-News. PRLL joins the tournament in 1964.

1962

The Rockland State/James A. Anderson Post, No. 1199, American Legion, offers PRLL the use of a ravine and woods, known as the “Robin Hood” field, off Hunt Road.

1962

Walter Reiner, PRLL’s first Secretary, retires after 9 years of service.

1962

The League finds it necessary to institute “an equipment fee per family” for the 1963 season. Due to a lack of volunteers, “steps will be taken to organize a Women’s Auxiliary in order to attract more workers”.

1962

PRLL institutes a “batting tee” division for 8 year-olds; PRLL’s original division, the Major Boys, expands to 8 teams, adding the Mets and Twins.

1963

 

PRLL minor leagues play first games at the future Anderson Field; Majors continue to play at Dexter Field; American Legion and PRLL work toward a future home for the whole league. Mooney Bocket serves as Field Chairman for the effort, which will consume the next three years.

 

Year

Event

1963

Art Hopper, a League founder and manager of the Yankees, takes over as PRLL President. PRLL signs 20 year lease with American Legion to play at Anderson Field.

1964

Citing “pressure” on the players, PRLL withdraws from All-Star tournament play. The boycott lasts for a number of years.

1965

Andrew D. McCahill begins a record 11-year tenure as Player Agent. He also serves as vice-president for 4 years.

1965

The Majors move from Jefferson Street to Anderson Field, which is dedicated in an elaborate ceremony on June 4, commencing its status as the official home of PRLL. A refreshment stand/clubhouse, converted from a storage shed at a cost of $8,000, is opened. The main field is named “Mooney Bocket Stadium”.

1965

PRLL and Nanuet play the first annual Flag Day game (which later became the Brown Jug game).

1966

PRLL Clubhouse (Pella Cubhouse) is re-named in honor of Art Hopper. In later years, it is simply called “The Hopper”.

1966

AAA Field is completed.

1966

A group of Little League mothers form a “Mother’s Auxiliary” to assist the League in operations and fund-raising. Mrs. George Westbrook is elected president. The group organizes a benefit softball game (called the ‘Tiger-Bunny” game) which becomes a League tradition.

1966

The Yankees (manager Frank Feger, coaches Frank Nilan and Ken Fordyce), capture PRLL’s first Tournament of Champions title. (2 tournament games were played at Anderson Field).

 

1967

PRLL participates in Brian Armstrong Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of a former player who died of injuries suffered in a high school football game between Clarkstown and Pearl River.

1968

(4/21)

The first Paul LiFrieri trophy, in honor of the former player who died in action at age 20 in Vietnam in 1967, is presented by his former employer, Mel Liebman, to Yankees manager Frank Feger and coach Frank Nilan.

1969

PRLL Mother’s Auxiliary forms a girls’ Softball league. Shelly Clark, first baseman for the Windbreakers, hits the first pitch of the first game for a homerun.

1974

5 years after PRLL starts a softball program, national Little League rules are revised to allow participation by girls, and Little League Softball and Senior League Softball programs are created.

1974

March: Art Hopper passes away while preparing for Opening Day. Vice-President Thomas G. Coffey becomes the League’s fourth President (and serves for the next 11 years).

1976

Charles Isberg completes a 9-year run as League Secretary. He is succeeded by Alfred H. Chapin III, who then holds the office for an incredible 16 years (1977-92).

1977

William J. Allison retires after 10 years as Umpire-In-Chief.

1978

John Devlin becomes Vice-President. He will hold that office for 7 of the next 9 years, while doubling as Player Agent for 8 of those years. He will then serve as President for the next 6 years (1987-92).

Year

Event

1979

Mothers’ Auxiliary takes over operation of the concession stand, and later institutes a bond system to staff the kitchen.

1980

Lucille Bevelacqua is elected Treasurer, and serves for 7 years.

Larry McKearney becomes Umpire-In-Chief, and holds that position for 7 years, and also serves as Player Agent for 4 years (1987-90).

1981

With other softball programs now in the County, PRLL officially charters its program, and the PRLL girls’ all-star teams soon win several District 18 championships.

1982

 

Construction of a new softball field, to be called the Senior Girls Field, is completed at Anderson Field. This is the first new field added since the AAA field in 1966. In 1987 (approx.), it is renamed for Austin McCarthy.

1982

The Giants, still managed by Mooney Bocket, win PRLL’s second Tournament of Champions title.

1984

PRLL terminates its Senior Boys (13-15) program.

1984

(12/24)

PRLL notifies Little League, Inc. of the resignation of President Thomas Coffey. He is succeeded by Austin J. McCarthy.

1985

Rep. Benjamin Gilman presents PRLL with an American flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol.

1986

Mooney Bocket retires as manager of the Giants, having won 16 Majors championships.

1987

John Devlin becomes PRLL’s sixth President.

1991

Scott Koonin, a Twins’ outfielder, suffers a broken cheekbone when hit by a pitch. The injury prompts the league to adopt the use of batting helmets with face shields for the 1992 season.

1992

The Twins, managed by John Mayer and coached by Bob DiUbaldo, win PRLL’s third Tournament of Champions title. The following year, the Twins, with DiUbaldo as manager, repeat as PRLL champs and advance to the T of C semifinal.

1993

John Castelli, a manager since 1979 in both baseball and softball, succeeds John Devlin as League President (Devlin continued his work for PRLL until 1995, and ran the District 18 Challenger program in 1993).

1993

Bob Vitale automates registration forms, enrollment and team rosters. The computerized database is critical to paperwork management in a League that will expand from less than 500 players in the early ‘90’s to almost 1,000 at the end of the decade. Vitale, who served on the Board for the rest of the decade, still administers the database in 2003.

1994

Player Agent Tom Fennell changes names of AAA (Colonials, Patriots, etc.) and International (Bears, Lions, etc.) teams to actual minor-major league names. The old names are later reassigned to Rookie Girls and Tee-Ball teams.

1994

The Chargers, managed by Dan Keenan, win the Rockland County Senior Girls’ Tournament of Champions (the first of four consecutive T of C titles for the Chargers).

1995

A new, larger PRLL adds boys’ and girls’ Tee-Ball, and a ‘Junior’ Girls (later renamed ‘Girls Minors’) Division for 9-10 year olds. With the existing Major Girls and Senior Girls Divisions, PRLL now offers a full softball program for all Little League age groups from 6-15.

Year

Event

1995

PRLL’s neighbor, NYNEX, eases PRLL’s overcrowded parking situation by permitting use of its parking lot for league games. With the assistance of W. Harris & Son, a pathway is constructed to afford access from the NYNEX lot to Anderson Field.

1995

(4/22)

The International field is re-dedicated as “Robert McKiernan Memorial Field”, in honor of PRLL’s Grounds Crew Supervisor who died in an auto accident.

1995

Dan Keenan’s Chargers win their second consecutive Senior Girls’ Tournament of Champions. The Larks, managed by Paul Moore, win the Major Girls’ Tournament of Champions.

1996

The American Legion agrees to permit PRLL to plan and construct a sixth field, to be used for Tee Ball, on the Anderson Field complex.

1996

The Owls, managed by Dennis Budica, build a perfect 20-0 record and win PRLL’s second straight Major Girls’ Tournament of Champions.

1996-97

Joe Bartomeo designs and supervises a major renovation to the PRLL clubhouse, known as “The Hopper”, the first major change since it was built. This permits expansion of the overcrowded kitchen. The larger facility is ready for the 1997 season.

1997

John Taylor succeeds John Castelli as League President and continues a two-year initiative to bring lights to Anderson Field.

1997

Under supervision of Board member Lois Supan, an announcing booth is constructed behind home plate of McCarthy Field (for softball).

1997

The new Tee Ball Field opens. Later, it is dedicated as “Harris Field”, in recognition of the efforts of Bill and Tim Harris, and the workers of W. Harris and Son, in clearing the land and constructing the field, and other assistance to PRLL.

1997

PRLL grows again, returning to Senior League play for baseball (which it had discontinued after the 1984 season). 3 Junior (13 year-olds) and 2 Senior (14-15) boys’ teams are entered in the Rockland County Inter-league for 1997. The existing girls’ Senior softball program joins the Interleague the following year.

1997

Girls’ Tee-Ball Division (6-8 y/olds) is split into Tee-Ball (6) and Rookie (7-8, with coaches’ pitching) Divisions.

1997

Longtime Umpire George Doonan becomes “The Voice of Pearl River Little League”

1997

Due to the growth of the baseball and softball programs, the Player Agent position is split into Boys’ and Girls’ Agents. Al Damiani becomes Boys’ Player Agent (for the next 6 years), and Eileen Kostik becomes the first Girls’ Player Agent.

 

1997

Dan Keenan’s Chargers win their FOURTH consecutive Senior Girls’ Tournament of Champions.

1997

PRLL’s 12 year-old boys’ All-Stars win their third consecutive District 18 (Rockland County) championship, and advance to within one game of the State tournament. The Senior Girls’ All-Stars also take their third straight District 18 title.

 

 

Year

Event

1998

(April)

A three-year effort culminates in the erection of lights on Mooney Bocket (Major Boys) and Austin McCarthy (Major Girls) Fields. Former and current presidents John Castelli and John Taylor, both instrumental in the process, throw the switch for the ceremonial first lighting.

1999

Little League adds 16 year-olds in both Senior baseball and softball. Juniors are now ages 13-14, and Seniors 15-16.

2000

Donald Schule becomes ninth PRLL President. PRLL becomes the host league for the Rockland Majors Softball Tournament of Champions.

2000

Facilities Director Woody Vassallo plans and oversees construction of a supplementary storage shed (the WoodyShack?) and adds new safety systems to the interior kitchen area.

2001

(Aug.)

The Softball T of C, hosted by PRLL, draws a $10,000 contribution from Verizon to Camp Venture.

2001

(Aug.)

In Syracuse, PRLL’s 9-10 year-old girls’ softball All-Star team, managed by Dan Scrima, wins the first New York State championship in PRLL history.

2002

(Aug.)

The Astros, managed by Bill Allen, win the Rockland Major Girls’ Tournament of Champions.

2003

PRLL expands tee-ball program to 5 year-olds; plans new field, the seventh on the Anderson Field complex.

2003

PRLL enrollment exceeds 1,000 players for the first time.

2003

PRLL negotiates a lease with its neighbor Cellco, Inc. (Verizon Wireless) for use of land bordering Anderson Field to construct a seventh field at the complex.

2003

PRLL celebrates 50 Years of service to the youth of Pearl River. A gala Golden Anniversary Dinner and a Ceremonial Opening Day are planned.

 

 

 

  

PRLL 21st CENTURY Chronology (since 2000)


AN OVERVIEW:

PRLL 21st CENTURY CHRONOLOGY

                       Continued from the Chronology (from 1953) contained in the 2003 50-Year Journal

Year

Event

 

 

2000

Donald Schule becomes ninth PRLL President. PRLL becomes the standard host league for the Rockland Majors Softball Tournament of Champions. Two PRLL teams participate in a new inter-league “Fall Ball” program. Major Girls and Junior Girls all-star teams win District 18 titles.

 

2001

 

(Aug) The Softball Tournament of Champions, hosted by PRLL, draws a $10,000 contribution from Verizon to Camp Venture. PRLL would host the T of C from 1998 through 2004.

2001

 

(Aug.) In Syracuse, PRLL’s 9-10 year-old girls’ softball All-Star team, managed by Dan Scrima, wins the first New York State championship in PRLL history. A parade is held on Central Avenue.

 

2002

 

(Aug) The Astros, managed by Bill Allen, win the Rockland Major Girls’ Tournament of Champions. The Junior (13-14) Girls win the third of six straight District 18 titles.

 

2003

PRLL expands tee-ball program to 5 year-olds; and plans new field, the seventh on the Anderson Field complex. PRLL negotiates a lease with its neighbor Cellco, Inc. (Verizon Wireless) for use of land bordering Anderson Field to construct a seventh field at the complex. Heroes Field opens in June.

2003

PRLL enrollment exceeds 1,000 players (1066) for the first time. 83 total teams are formed.

2003

PRLL celebrates 50 Years of service to the youth of Pearl River. A gala Golden Anniversary Dinner (3/29/03) and a Ceremonial Opening Day are held.

2003

4/3/03: Billy Kayser, a former PRLL player and current member of the PRHS baseball team, passes away from head trauma sustained in an auto accident. His donated organs save six other lives.

2003

(July) The Junior Girls and Major Girls win District 18 championships.

 

2004

PRLL wins its fifth straight District 18 Junior Girls title, and the Juniors team goes on to win the Section 2 title and is only stopped in the finals of the NY State Tournament (by Long Beach). The 11 year-old girls also take the D-18 and Section 2 banners and reach the title round of the States. It is the first time that PRLL has had two teams in the NY State Tournament.

2004

The AAA (8-9) field is re-named Billy Kayser Memorial Field. Family and friends attend a dedication ceremony. In July, the first annual Kayser Memorial Tournament is held for baseball and softball teams of 9 year-old players from the region, with funds donated to student scholarships. The following year, 2005, the softball portion of the tournament is named for Alicia Brady, and the Kayser-Brady Tournament becomes a fixture in Rockland County for the next 16 years.

 

2005

(Jan.) Yankee catcher John Flaherty hosts a fund-raiser for PRLL at Madden’s Restaurant.

2005

The Junior Girls team, with many players from the 2001 State title (9/10) team, win the New York State championship and become the first PRLL team to play in the Little League Eastern Regional tournament, winning two games in pool play. Meanwhile, the 11 year old girls also win the NY State title (there were no regionals for that age group at that time). The two State titles were a PRLL first. The 10 year-old girls took the District 18 banner, and the 9 year-old boys won both County 9 y/o tournaments (the West Nyack Tournament and the Kayser Tournament).

 

2006

Three of PRLL’s all-star softball teams (Major Girls, Senior Girls and 11 year-old girls) win both District 18 and Section 2 championships. All three teams make it to the NY State Finals The Boys’ 11’s win the West Nyack Tournament.

2006

(late Fall) With the small announcing stand near McCarthy Field in a state of deterioration and badly damaged by a storm, Bob Vitale mobilizes a volunteer army (including standouts John Feger and Tim Harris) and the donated labor of local construction professionals Brendan O’Flynn and Michael Sullivan to build a two-story structure with an elevated announcing booth and a lower storage/cold concession area. It is later named “The Coffey House”, in honor of PRLL’s fourth president, Thomas Coffey. It is ready for the 2007 season.

 

2007

Little League, Inc. enacts “pitch count” rules for LL Baseball. Total PRLL player enrollment remains over 1100. Major Girls win District 18 title. 9 year-old girls’ team wins the Brady Tournament.

In the MLB draft, PRLL and PRHS alumnus Sean Giblin is drafted in the 10th (of 50) round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

2007

(Fall) Joan Bourke, who has spent a decade in PRLL as Concession Director and later Board Secretary, becomes the 12th President of Pearl River Little League. As of this posting (Feb 2021), Joan has served in that capacity longer than any previous League President, surpassing the prior longevity mark of 11 years (shared by Art Hopper and Tom Coffey).

 

2008

(Feb.) Former PRLL player Joseph Pennisi passes away at the age of 19 after an extended illness.

(Sept.) Bill Harris passes away at the age of 57. Bill (of W. Harris & Son, Inc.), longtime friend and benefactor to PRLL, with his brother Tim, used the resources and expertise of his company to perform many projects at Anderson Field, including the construction of the Tee-Ball field that bears his name. He was well-known for his volunteer work (nine months) at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy.

2008

The 10 year-old Girls take home the District 18 and Section 2 Banners, and place second (to Long Island) in the NY State Tournament. For the first time in recent memory, PRLL fields a Big League (16-18) baseball team, which wins the District 18 title on a one-hitter against Stony Point. The 9 year-old boys win the West Nyack Tournament, and the Girls’ 9’s take the Brady Tournament title.

 

2009

“Voice of PRLL”, George Doonan, celebrates his 50th year of service to Little League as an umpire and announcer. He would remain behind the microphone through 2016. He passed in 2017.

May 4: Alfred “Mooney” Bocket, co-founder of PRLL and a manager for 33 years, passes away at the age of 90.

October: Andrew McCahill, who helped to start PRLL and served on the Board for many years, passes away at 88 years old.

2009

The Giants win the Major Boys title and go to the Rockland County Tournament of Champions in Haverstraw, lasting until the final game against the Stony Point Cardinals. Chance Cosgrove, one of the team's mainstays, was a popular and fun-loving player who embodied sportsmanship. Tragically, he was lost in a swimming accident in North Carolina on August 28.

PRLL and the Cosgrove Family establish an annual trophy, the Chance Cosgrove Sportsmanship Award, to be given to a player on the PRLL Tournament of Champions team who exemplifies character and sportsmanship, as Chance did. The family also donates a batting cage alongside Bocket Field that carries Chance's name.

2009

September: Less than a month after Chance’s death, Carolyn Sullivan, an eight year-old first baseman on the Rookie Girls Blaze team, passes away after a five-month battle with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor. After having surgery in May, Carolyn continued to attend her team’s games and pursue other aspects of her life, showing enormous courage and vitality.

2009

The Major Girls win the District 18, Section 2 and New York State championships, reaching the final four of the Little League Eastern Regional Tournament, as far as any PRLL team has ever advanced up to that time. The team is honored in a ceremony at Town Hall in September.

2009

The Girls’ 11 year-old team takes the District 18 and Section 4 titles and return to the State Tournament for the second straight year (having lost as 10’s in the 2008 state final). They again reach the final and play well, the first PRLL team to play in two straight State tournaments.

The Boys’ 9’s win the West Nyack Tournament. The Boys’ 10’s capture the D-18 and Section 4 banners and become the first PRLL boys’ team in the 21st Century to reach the N.Y. State Tournament.

 

2010 – 2019

 

Year

Event

 

 

2010

Opening Day: PRLL players remember Chance Cosgrove and Carolyn Sullivan, with the boys wearing Chance’s number 11 on their sleeves and the girls wearing Carolyn’s number 8 on theirs. A new batting cage is dedicated in Chance’s memory. In June, an overnight “Walk for Life” is held in Carolyn’s memory at the Central Avenue field and track.

2010

The Boys’ 11 year-olds repeat their 2009 feat as ten year-olds, capturing the District 18 and NY Section 4 championships. The PRLL Boys’ 9’s win their third straight West Nyack Tournament, then go on to take the Kayser Tournament title. The PRLL Major Girls champion Riptide wins the Softball Tournament of Champions in Haverstraw. The PRLL Major Boys Dodgers win the baseball Tournament of Champions in Haverstraw, marking the first time PRLL has swept both titles.

 

2011

The Junior Girls team, with many of the same players that won the 2009 NY State title and reached the Eastern Regional Final Four, again take the District 18, NY Section 4 and NY State championship banners. In pool play of the Eastern Regional Tournament, the team goes 8-1, defeats Connecticut in the semi-final, and endures a nail-biting 6-5 loss to West Point of Pennsylvania in the Final. The team falls one game short of the LL World Series in Williamsport, Pa., but sets an all-time high mark for PRLL teams.

2011

The Major Boys team, with many of the same players that reached the State Tournament as 10’s in 2009 and as 11’s in 2010, finish their “triple crown” and again grab the District 18 and Section 4 championship banners.

 

2012

The Pearl River Rotary and Larry Virgine donate a new scoreboard to PRLL.

(April) Challenger Little League celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Major Girls team wins the District 18 title.

(October): PRHS Junior and former PRLL player Thomas Scognamiglio loses his batter with a cancerous bone tumor. Classmates recall his smile and positive outlook.

 

2013

The Major Boys team place third in the NY State Tournament after capturing the District 18 and Section 4 titles. The 10 year-old Girls team also wins the District 18 and Section 4 championships.

 

2014

(Feb) Former PRLL player Josephine Pucci, who is on the Harvard Univ. hockey team, plays Olympic women’s hockey with the U.S. Olympic team at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

(June): The Minor Girls Inferno team wins the Rockland Minors Tournament of Champions in Nanuet. The Girls 11 year-old all-stars win the District 18 and Section 4 titles.

 

2015

(May) Mel Liebmann (founder of Mel’s Army & Navy Store in Pearl River), long-time benefactor of PRLL, passes away at the age of 93.

(July) The Major Girls team takes the District 18 banner.

 

2017

The Girls’ 10’s win the District 18 tournament.

(September 13) George Doonan, the long-time “Voice of PRLL” (and the “Voice of Kayser-Brady”) passes away at age 76.

 

2018

(January 13) Bob Vitale, PRLL volunteer for over 25 years and advisor to every PRLL President since 1993, passes away five days after his 68th birthday after a battle with cancer.

(March 6) John Taylor, 8th President of PRLL (1997-99), passes away at age 66. John, an engineer, had designed the lighting systems for many ballfields in Rockland County and was instrumental in bringing lights to Anderson Field in 1998.

2018

(July) The PRLL 11 year-old girls, having won the District title a year earlier, capture the D-18, Section 3N and New York State championships, becoming the sixth PRLL team in the 21st Century to achieve the 3-Flag Triple Crown.

 

2019

The Major (12 yr-old) Girls sustain a narrow one-run loss in the District 18 final, just missing a 3-year sweep at the District level (they won as 10’s and 11’s in 2017 and 2018). They then regroup to win the Jaxel Memorial Tournament. The Boys’ 11’s win the West Nyack Tournament.

In the first 20 years of the 21st Century, PRLL has collected 31 District, 19 Section and 6 State championships.

 

2020

A world-wide pandemic (the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19) impacts the populations of every nation on earth. Many public functions, including the Little League season, are cancelled for public health concerns.

 

 

                                                          (hopefully to be continued)

 


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