Irvington Little League, Inc. was organized in early 1953 by a group of Irvington, civic-minded individuals who recognized the need to provide a medium for boys to play baseball. Its purpose was to build good citizens and good Americans. The program would sponsor and promote amateur non-profit baseball for boys regardless of prior ability or skill and would teach boys the fundamentals of baseball, fair play, discipline, and team work regardless of race, creed or color; and it would encourage parents to participate and take an interest in the recreational development of their children.
The first Board of Directors consisted of Dick Whittington, president, C. J. Guinan, Jr., vice president, Leonard E. Whiteman, treasurer, Wayne L. Kinsey, secretary, B. F. Fuson, E. 0. (Stony) Sterns, Jesse A. Simpson, Jr., and James J. Stewart. Mr. Flynn was in charge of umpires.
Mr. E. 0. Sterns was the prime mover in establishing contacts with the Irvington business community, securing a tract of land for the program and securing the qualifications and documentation of approval of Little League Baseball as sanctioned by Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Sterns negotiated with his friends, the Johnson Family, to use and convert a cow pasture (approximately 51 acres) south of their business establishment, Johnson's Sweet Shop, 7601 E. Washington Street, for $1.00 and other considerations. The area converted for the program consisted of 200 feet frontage and 900 feet depth. Mr. Sterns contacted various government agencies for assistance in establishing the grounds, but help was not forthcoming. Mr. Sterns was determined that Irvington would have a program of baseball, so he organized volunteer help and did a personal solicitation of the Irvington business community.
Ball diamonds were cut, as well as a lane from East Washington Street to the entrance to the ball diamonds. Materials for outfield fences and dugouts were donated from a lumber firm. Temporary bleachers were donated by Howe High School. The physical labor was performed by Mr. Sterns and his crews of volunteers for the initial start up of this program. Approximately 250 boys from ages 9 through 12 were registered and assigned to four Major League and twelve Minor League teams.
Each Major League team had three Minor League teams affiliated. Mr. Sterns persuaded Little League Baseball of Williamsport, Pennsylvania to accept the program as established by Irvington after many long and difficult negotiations.
While the ball diamonds were being prepared at Johnson Field, the teams were permitted to play games and practice at Ellenberger Park. This continued from June 15, 1953 until July 25, 1953. At 2:00 p.m. on July 25, 1953, a large convoy of teams, vehicles and interested people assembled in parade from Irvington to the ball diamonds at Johnson Field, 7601 East Washington Street. In 1956, the program found it necessary to relocate. Mr. Dave Ford, an employee of Chrysler Corporation, 30th and Shadeland Avenue, persuaded the officials of Chrysler Corporation to allow Irvington Little League to move to vacant property near 30th Street and Arlington Avenue. Diamonds, fencing, concession, and outhouse buildings were constructed with the aid of Chrysler Corporation equipment and financing. Volunteer aid from the membership, as well as significant expertise and equipment were donated by Mr. Walter Barrett and Wendell Bradley. Pony League for boys graduating from Major Leagues was established. Shortly thereafter, a Senior League for boys was established. The League name was changed to identify with the new generous sponsor and now became known as Chrysler-Irvington Little League.
In 1964, under the direction of Mr. Ken Green, all the diamonds, fences and buildings were relocated on Chrysler property due to expansion needs of Chrysler Corporation. A new underground water system to irrigate the ball diamonds area was installed, but unfortunately could not be used. The major expense of this relocation was provided by Chrysler Corporation.
In July 1966, Chrysler Corporation advised that a new place to continue the program would need to be secured due to expansion needs of Chrysler Corporation.
In 1967, a search committee headed by Don Pedigo secured a plot of acreage, 10.7 acres, at East Raymond Street and 1-465, as a permanent home for Irvington Little League. The price of this acreage was $10,000. One-half of this purchase price was obtained by the membership and officers of the program. Fortunately, part of this seed money was secured in a fund drive to establish a lighted field on the Chrysler property which of course was not completed due to the relocation. The balance of the cost of the purchase was financed through a loan from Indiana National Bank. The loan was completely paid within two years.
In 1968, the relocation of Irvington Little League, Inc. was secured on the tract purchased. Six ball diamonds were constructed with expansion of the program envisioned. This new field was named Irving Field and was dedicated in May 1968. All the buildings, fencing, and bleacher seating were transported from the Chrysler property with the assistance of Chrysler Corporation personnel and financial help. In conjunction with the dedication of Irving Field, the 'Walter Barrett Award' was established in recognition of Mr. Barrett's efforts to provide a community program for the youth of Irvington and the surrounding community.
With the establishment of new ball diamonds, a new league was formed for youth ages 6 and 7 to be known as Pee Wee League. This program was established for instructional and educational purposes.
In 1970, traveling teams known as 'Big League' were established. Also a new program for girls known as 'Leaguettes' was established for the playing of softball. This program was later expanded to 'Senior Girls' ages 13, 14, and 15.
In 1972, Irvington Little League, Inc. expanded its boundaries and its chartered area due to the dissolvement of Arlington Little League. The area expanded was basically from 16th and Arlington east to Shadeland Avenue, north to 30th Street and east to Franklin Road, south to Washington Street; and east to Post Road, south to Raymond Street, and west to English Avenue. With this expansion the program rapidly increased to 300 families and 500 participants.
In 1972, a major project was undertaken with the purchase and installation of field lights on the Senior Baseball diamond. The expertise of Long Electric Company and its staff insured the proper installation. The project was financed over a period of several years with all funds created by the membership as total payment. Indiana National Bank again financed this project.
In 1978 and 1979, a new facility for concession, storage, and meeting rooms were built by Wendis Fugate Construction. Mr. Dick Miller, president, was the project leader for this major improvement. Indiana National Bank provided the loan funds needed. All funds were secured over a period of three years by the volunteer efforts of membership and friends of the League.
On September 11, 1982, the name of Irving Field was changed to James P. McNulty Field to honor Mr. McNulty for the years spent as treasurer of Irvington Little League, Inc. In 1989 a new major improvement of an asphalt paved entrance/exit roadway was installed. Project leader was Mr. Ron Healey, president.
In 1992, a new shelter/picnic area was erected north of the concession clubhouse. Mr. R. Jack McDowell was project leader. Also in 1992, a new Challenger Division program was established for any mentally or physically disabled youngster between ages 6 and 18 to participate in Little League.
In 1993, the concession area was enlarged plus new toilet accommodations were provided for the physically handicapped. Mr. R. Jack McDowell and Rob Rebholz were project leaders. Many local businesses donated materials for this much needed project. A new public address amplifier system was also installed in order to keep all persons notified of important activities.
In 2002 a meeting of the membership was called. It was agreed that the name "Irvington Little League" was too restrictive. This organization had too much potential to be held to one sport or one League and by original charter, we could only play little league baseball or softball. To counter this restrictive situation we became IRVINGTON SPORTS ASSOCIATION, and...
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