SALL History

SALL History

 Vintage newsreel footage of the 1951 Little League World Series when Connecticut
(Stamford) defeats Texas (Austin) 3-0 to win the championship on August 25, 1951.

Stamford American Little League Wins the 1951 Little League World Series

The Stamford American Little League has the distinction of being the oldest league in Stamford (chartered in 1950) and one of the earliest to be chartered in Connecticut, but perhaps the league is best known as the first of only four teams in Connecticut to ever win the Little League World Series Championship.

On August 25, 1951 in only the fifth year of the history of the Little League World Series, Stamford American won the Championship title defeating Austin, Texas 3-0 in Williamsport, PA. The only other three Connecticut teams to win the Little League World Series title were Norwalk (1952), Windsor Locks (1965), and Trumbull (1989).

Although Little League Baseball was founded in 1939 it wasn't until 1947 when the first Little League World Series (then called the National Little League Tournament) was played. In 1951 when Stamford American had won the title, there were a total of 776 league organizations. Today there are over 7,000 teams in 79 countires. That year was also the first time a permanently established league outside the United States had played (British Columbia, Canada).

The Stamford American Little League had also won the Connecticut State title and the Eastern Regional title, in 1983 when for the second time they moved on to play in the Little League World Series Tournament in Williamsport. They were eliminated in the third round of the tournament by an 11-3 defeat against the Far East team.

Stamford American has also been the District Champions moving onto the Connecticut tournament six times in 1965, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1996. Connecticut didn't have a district structure in the earlier years when the league had won the World Series title in 1951.

Stamford's Long History of Baseball 

Stamford has a long history in youth baseball dating back many decades before Stamford American became the Little League World Champions in 1951. The Stamford Historical Society recently published "Stamfords Earliest Baseball Records" for an exhibit called "Forging a Community: Stamford on the Gridiron and on the Diamond 1860-1975".

Below is an excerpt from that document in reference to the formation of the Stamford American Little League.

Little League 1950-52 - The clear interest and talent exhibited by Stamford’s youth called for an organized league through which the players could grow and improve. While the Board of Recreation had provided opportunities for play, many envisioned a more organized league patterned on those of adults.

On March 25, 1950 a meeting was held to establish if Stamford wished to obtain a Little League Baseball charter. J. Walter Kennedy, a member of the National Little League board, was the driving force behind the move. Kennedy established the league and compelled the service clubs: Exchange, Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions, to each sponsor a team. Over 400 players tried out for the 48 necessary spots need to have the league. Mickey Lione and Paul Klinkowski served as the All Star coaches in the summer of 1951.

Although only in its second year of operation, Stamford’s all-star team captured the state championship then defeated a team from Westerly, RI at the Vine Road field before 3,000 fans. Westerly was defeated a second time at its home turf and Stamford advanced to the World Series in Williamsport, PA.

Many of the players such as captain Mickey Lione Jr. and Dom Lacerenza admitted at the time to not fully realizing what they had accomplished. Andy Wasil pitched for Stamford before 10,000 fans. Stamford defeated the team from Austin TX 3-0 to take the National Championship.

A second Little League was started in Stamford in 1952 to provide more opportunities for play but it would be more than 20 years before Stamford would appear again at Williamsport.

To read the entire document please visit the Stamford Historical Society web site at

1951 Champions

1955 SALL Banquet
1955 Stamford American Banquet

All of the players occupy four tables from left to right. At the fifth table to the far right of the photo, heading the table (closest to us) and seated with his head to turned to us is Stamford welterweight boxer Chico Vejar.

At the fourth table is Tom Hanley, Coach of the Springdale Lions. Also seated at the Springdale Lions table is his son Tommy Hanley and cousin Arthur Blundell. Some of the other Lions at this table are Al Speyers, Bobby Geriak, Jeff Talbot, Georgie Smith, Jeff Wyden, Rusty White and Guy Tevino.

The third table is the Rotary table. The only ones identified are Nick Totillo at the head facing us. Halfway down on the right side of the table are twin brothers Wayne and Warren. At the far end of the table is Michael Clear and Bruce Vuckson.

The second table is the Exchange table. The Coach at the head of the table on the right side had a first name of Patsy. At the far end of the table on the right side is Bobby Farrell.

The 1st table is the Stamford Lions table. The 6th man from the front on the right hand side of the table is Mr. Liscio.

Photo taken at the Halfway House on the border of Stamford and Darien (now Giovanni's)

Photo courtesy of Dan Hanley

1958 All Stars
1958 Stamford American All-Star Team

Back Row: 1st on left Coach Hank Haynes. 3rd from left District Commissioner John Ballo
Second Row: 5th from left Jackie Robinson Jr.
Front Row: 1st on left Pete Carriero. 5th from left Tommy O'Neal. 7th from left Billy Miller
Note: Not all players are identified

Photo take at present day Springdale Little League field

Photo courtesy of Dan Hanley

1955 Springdale Lions
1955 Springdale Lions

Back Row: Coach Hank Haynes, Rusty White, Guy Tevino, Steve Young, Jeff Wyden, Bobby Geriak, Coach Tom Hanley 
Front Row: Vinny Mays, Al Speyers, Jeff Talbot, Georgie Smith, Paul Drexel, Tommy Hanley (batboy)

The Springdale Lions were one of four teams in the Stamford American Little League in 1955 

Photo taken at Willard School Field (Vine Road)

Photo courtesy of Dan Hanley

1954 Springdale Lions
1953 Springdale Lions

Back Row: Coach Hank Haynes, Coach Tom Hanley
Third Row: 4th and 5th from left Cappiello, Jeff Lown 
Second Row: 2nd, 3rd and 4th from left Guy Tevino, Liscio, Mitchell
Front Row: 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th from left Jeff Wyden, Rusty White, Jeff Talbot, Al Speyers

The Springdale Lions were one of four teams in the Stamford American Little League in 1953

Photo taken at old Springdale AC Little League field (location of Springdale School 1955 addition)

Photo courtesy of Dan Hanley

Local Sponsors

Stamford American Little League

1127 High Ridge Road, #337
Stamford, Connecticut 06905

Phone: 203-539-1709

Email: [email protected]