The year was 1960, and two groups
of young boys from Albion made their way to Michigan State University
in late July to demonstrate a new variation on an old sport.
Jerry Sacharski, often credited as the founder of tee-ball, was the
baseball instructor for Albion's Department of Recreation in 1956 when
he helped to develop the first tee-ball game in the region, if not the
country. He noted that, as in many trends that catch on, it is difficult
to say for sure where tee-ball originated. However, he had no outside
influence when he came up with Albion's version, and it was soon adopted
in nearby communities such as Marshall and Hastings.
In that early incarnation, the program
eliminated pitchers and catchers and replaced them with an adjustable
tee on which the ball sits. Batters then hit the ball from the tee and
send it out towards the fielders. Because there is much less chance
to strike out, the games are usually much faster than traditional baseball.
Yet Sacharski pointed out, "the importance was not the tee itself,
but the way we played the game." The real innovation, was far as
he was concerned, was the makeup of the ball diamond. Instead of a home
plate, there was a circular area surrounding the tee that the players
had to step in to score a run. The other bases were also surrounded
by large circles that make fielders jobs easier, because they simply
had to have their foot in the circle for a runner to be out.
'N Pieces about T-Ball
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