Ken Kampff

In 1951 a group of parents formed an organized baseball league for boys 9-12.  With the explosion of young boys interested in playing baseball, it wasn’t long before the 18th Ward East Little League became charted through Williamsport (Home of Little League Baseball).  By 1952, we doubled in size and needed two charters to encompass the increasing numbers in our area.  We were able to play all of our games at a site across from #52 School known as the RG&E field.

Soon it became apparent that there was a need for older boys to play ball.  A league was formed and the boys from our area played in a league known as Joey Brown Baseball.  With no field for the older boys, we searched the area and found a spot on Blossom Road.  We played at Cobbs Hill.  We found a new field at #46 School.  With the help of Mayor Lamb, we avoided being arrested for trespassing and were allowed on the field.  It was during this time that the older boys became a part of Little League Baseball in the Senior League Division.  Our Senior League played there until a developer built houses on the adjacent property and we were forced to find yet another place to play!

Mothers were petitioning the city to build some baseball fields at Tryon Park.  The are was a former dumping ground for the ashes from the coal furnaces.  Hundreds of yards of dirt were brought in to level and fill the fields.  This was a joint effort between the City of Rochester and our volunteers.  We were able to build two fields and backstops were moved from the Cairn Street playground on the Westside to Tryon Park.  Eventually we were able to build a third field to the south with the cooperation of the city.  Soon water was brought to the field and drinking fountains and other amenities that helped turn the field into a great place to play Little League. During the 60’s and 70’s the program prospered.  The league name was changed from the 18th Ward to Eastside Little League.

Mothers and fathers worked endless hours to make the league thrive.  There was the annual opening day parade of players and a year-end picnic at Ellison Park.  During the 80’s, several leagues formed girls softball programs.  This helped increase the interest in youth baseball.  The city leagues were declining. Despite this trend, Eastside Little League has thrived and has actually seen a remarkable revival take place during the past few years. Eastside Little League has built a fabulous complex that rivals the likes of fields in the suburbs. Now including a beautiful concession stand, bathrooms and homerun fences. A group of dedicated individuals that all have a common goal to keep kids interested in sports and teach them about life.