West Haven Little League
See Part 1.
Thus, it came to pass that on June 2, 1951, West Haven Little League held its first season opener at Painter Park, with four teams of sixteen boys each. The first teams were sponsored by the West Haven Exchange Club, the West Haven Rotary Club, the West Haven Fire Department Mutual Aid Association, and the West Haven Amvets, Post #1. By 1953, they had expanded to eight teams, and by 1958, to twelve teams.
By 1954, games were played both at Painter Park and Morse Park, at a site that was on one-and-one-half acres of land donated by Frederick V. Morse during the 1930s. This land, plus an adjoining former-landfill, had by now been prepared to serve the needs of the young ballplayers. In 1958, a second playing field was added to Morse Park, and from then on, Painter Park was no longer used by West Haven Little League.
A modest cinderblock field house was built there in 1957, using donations from West Haven residents. It served as the sole structure at Morse Park until 1988, when it was replaced with the present two-story field house; this too was built through the generous donation of materials and labor by West Haveners.
By 1975, there were twenty major league boys’ teams playing on three fields at Morse Park. In addition, there were now ten girls’ teams, and six minor league boys’ teams, and West Haven Little League’s tremendous success spoke for itself. And that success continues to this day. Currently, the Little Leaguers play on five fields, and one “challenger field,” with a smaller diamond, all at Morse Park.
Today, West Haven Little League, the brainchild of Richard Brennan some sixty years ago, still attracts large numbers of West Haven’s youth. And today, the teams can count among their number the grandchildren of those first boys who were the charter members of the league during its earliest years. And over the many years, West Haven Little League has formed and trained a great number of fine ball players. Well done!
As a side note, it should be mentioned that Richard Brennan went on to form the West Haven Babe Ruth League in 1953, but that is another story for another day.