Pacific Stars and Stripes,
July 29, 1953
by PFC B. E. Fogelberg
KOREAN BASE SECTION, July 29- It's "play ball"
in Korea. Little Kim waves his bat at the plate, the crowd roars,
and the tall, skinny orphan on the mound forgets his hunger and fires
a fast one . . . the game is on.
Kids are the same the world over.
And, in war-torn Korea, the youngsters have found
a new game to keep them off the streets; a game to relieve the boredom
of living in poverty.
IT'S THE AMERICAN game of baseball. They love it.
"Little league" baseball has been introduced
to the village of Haeundae. American servicemen are teaching Korean
boys a new sense of sportsmanship, along with an introduction to the
American way of life.
It started nearly a year ago when a chaplain from
Tucson, Ariz., saw the need for clean wholesome recreation-an activity
which would build bodies as well as better U.S.-Korean relations.
Because his son is a Little Leaguer in Tucson,
Capt. Paul D. Hutchins picked a natural-baseball.
BEGINNING with a letter to Tucson, Korea's first
Little league has developed into a ball league. The uniforms are ragged.
And the field is rough and rocky. But you can't top the spirit anywhere.
Hutchins first wrote to Frank Minarilk, Little
league commissioner in Tucson, who promised help. He passed the story
on to the Arizona Daily Star, a Tucson paper which sponsors the Little
The Star kept the ball rolling by assuming sponsorship
of the "Arizona-Little Korean Baseball league," even scheduling
a Little league benefit game in Tucson to raise money for the Korean
The Korean organization has a board of officers,
a general manager, coaches, and umpires composed of servicemen. A
membership charter is en route to Haeundae from Little League Baseball,
Inc., Williamsport, Pa.
Except for the location, it could be anywhere in
the U. S.
ALTHOUGH 90 boys make up the team rosters, others
aren't left out. Before each game and on practice days, more than
150 work out on an ordnance battalion diamond. When a game is on,
those who didn't make the grade serve as a robust cheering section.
Most of the kids go to school. Others are orphans
who work to support themselves. In the first game a little catcher-a
shoe-shine boy by trade-was the star.
Equipment is a problem. However, through the efforts
of the Daily Star, a dozen Little league baseballs were flown to Korea.
And now, caps, T-shirts, and catching equipment are on the way.
Much of the impetus in the formation of the Little
league has been provided by Cpl. Marcellus Riley, Harrisburg, Pa.,
baseball player under contract to the Cleveland Indians.
RILEY, a member of an ordnance company, who directs
most of the operation, says, "It's amazing the way these boys
have picked up baseball. The spirit couldn't be higher. Although we're
short on equipment, all the units have done a great job in working
with the kids."
Poor weather has cut the season short, but league
officials plan a fall 18-game schedule. Championship playoffs will
be held this fall.
During player-selection before the opener, coaches
from five units bargained for top players with Branch Rickey-like