Tonawanda Little League reunion
“It’s wonderful. It’s been a while since I’ve been back here. A lot of these folks had a lot to do with my success growing up,” said former MLB player Glen Cook.
The Tonawanda National Little League Reunion was held on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the American Legion Post #264 in the City of Tonawanda. Eighty-five former players and coaches attended the event which raised $939 for the baseball program at the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns, Tonawanda Branch.
The Tonawanda National Little League was founded in 1952 and folded in 2012. Members always thought about having a reunion but didn’t have a chance to get together until now. The little league sent three of its players to the Major Leagues; Glen Cook, Jim Briton and Dave Geisel.
“We’ve been planning this for over a year. It feels great to see everyone,” said planning member Don Horton, who was also a former player and coach in the league. “I’ve seen players, coaches, guys I graduated with, a lot of people from out of town.”
The reunion included plenty of food and drinks for guests; players, coaches and administrators brought old pictures, trophies and plaques to reminisce on the good old days. Ninety-three-year- old Del Lawrence, the original founding father, even showed off the very first Tonawanda Little League roster he had kept since 1951.
“It makes me feel younger,” he said. “I don’t get to see too many of these fellows because we’re all up in age so now I can.” Lawrence attended the event with his son Tom Lawrence who is also a former coach and manager.
Cook, who once pitched for the Texas Rangers, flew all the way from Houston with his family for the reunion; he said the league had a great impact on him.
“It was competitive baseball and that’s the way it should be,” he said. “I missed a lot of these people went I went off to college. It’s nice to see name tags and remember everybody.”
Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick later joined the reunion to issue a proclamation that forever makes June 15, “Tonawanda National Little League Day”.