Short History of the Merrimack Youth Baseball Program
In 1968 a group of Merrimack parents, whose concern over a lack of organized sports in our community for our youth, decided to take action. Under the able leadership of this group, and in particular Mr. Gil Thorne, our Little League program was formed and granted a charter from the National Little League of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. From this modest yet significant beginning, our Merrimack Youth Association (MYA) was born.
Today, our program has grown considerably and now provides baseball instruction and competition to a yearly average of more than 500 children. Our program was formed to provide competitive play for all ages and levels of talent, as provided for in the Merrimack Youth Baseball Rules and Operating Manual and as illustrated below:
- T-ball - Age 6 and first year age 7
- Instructional - Age 7 and first year age 8
- Advanced Instructional - Age 8 and first year age 9
- Minor League - Ages 9-12 (some advanced age 8)
- Major League - Ages 9-12 advanced talent
- Babe Ruth - Ages 13-15
The success of the program is the result of:
- Strong community support and acceptance
- Financial support from local and area businesses, from our community and the town's government leaders.
- Over 200 managers, coaches and scorekeepers
- Over 50 adult and young adult umpires
- Concession workers and field maintenance workers
- Fund-raisers, team parents and miscellaneous volunteers
- Merrimack Youth Baseball Board of Directors and committee volunteers
The dedication and commitment of these hundreds of volunteers is the primary reason for our continued success and growth.
In 1991 Merrimack's Little League Board of Directors took on the task of creating a post-season tournament throughout our Little League District. This tournament provided an opportunity for our ballplayers to compete against our district neighbors. This tournament was known as "The Jimmy Fund Tournament". It's primary goal was to raise funds for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Jimmy Fund program that has been supported by the Boston Red Sox and recognized worldwide for its' excellence. Merrimack's little leaguers have the honor of being the top fund-raising team in all of New England for 1992 and 1993.
In 1995 a second tournament was created in support of a scholarship fund for a graduating Merrimack student. This tournament is known as the Peter J. Skeffington tournament. Mr. Skeffington was an avid supporter and contributor to the baseball program. The tournament is held post-season and the team consists of the top 11 year old players from the regular season.
In 1999 the Board of Directors made the significant decision to absolve its' charter with the National Little League and instead charter the program under the Cal Ripken League.
The continued success and growth of the program is possible only through the support and dedication of you, the parents and business leaders of Merrimack's most important and cherished resource…..our children.