BECKUM-STAPLETON LITTLE LEAGUE HISTORY
Originally Beckum-Stapleton Little League games were played on fields all over the north side of Milwaukee. Games were played at Auer Avenue School and Lincoln, Washington, Johnson, and Garfield Parks. Finally with County Supervisor Clinton Rose’s help, Beckum-Stapleton moved to its present home at Carver Park. Field Three had lights and dug outs. Field Four started out as an unfenced field. Fences, lights, bullpens, and a scoreboard were added later. In the 1980’s Tee Ball was added on field 2. Diamond 1 was converted from softball to baseball field in 1990. The James W. Beckum indoor practice facility was opened in 2002. In 2004 a new field opened for minor league pitching machine and in 2005 the Tee Ball field was added. Today, all age groups play at Carver Park.
Competitive tournament teams have been a staple of Beckum Stapleton Little League over the years. In 1967 our majors team lost in the district finals. In 1976 the Seniors team won district and state tournaments and played in the Nebraska Regional. The 1985 team, coached by Robert Johnson, won district and played in the state tournament. Under Manager Nate Hall the 1992, Seniors won district and state tournaments. The team played in the regional tournament in Iowa.
Coaches Charles Coleman (1986) and Lee Bullock (1993) coached district teams in the Grand Rapids, Michigan regional.
There are great stories of coaches, too numerous to mention. In Little League, Bill Graham’s (Jets and Cubs) and Leon Walker (Zembo Braves) often competed in the championship game. In the senior league, coaches Orville Beene (Astros), Hugh Armstrong (Yankees), Nate Hall (Angels), and Ed Strong (Tigers) won many championships.
Many men and women played other various roles over the years in the administration of the Beckum-Stapleton Little League. When one thinks of Beckum-Stapleton Little League Player agents, Henry Small comes to mind. Others helping out in the role were Jones Sewell, Robert Bass, Bob Hollis, Barbara Hayes, and Albert Tunstall. Scorekeepers that stood out over the years were Ora Pointer and Rich Beisser. Many board members have also contributed to the league. Norma Freeman as Treasurer and Barbara White as Public Relations Officer have served for many years. Fundraisers from Erlene Forester to Victoria Dorsey have made sure that the league remains viable.
The leadership of Beckum-Stapleton Little League has changed over the last fifty-plus seasons. Past Beckum Stapleton Little League presidents include James Beckum, Gary Henning, Henry Small, George Slade, Jerry Beckum, Billy Prince, and Lafayette Golden. Jim Brey has served as President since 1998.
But what has made Beckum-Stapleton Little League great is the players. Participating in supervised play, “off the streets,” has met Reverend Philips’s original goals. With the discipline and team skills they learned in little league, many players went on to play sports in high school, college, and even at the professional level. Many others have gone on to use these life skills and a love for sports and sportsmanship in recreational baseball and softball. All players have had the chance to improve themselves and have fun, thanks to James Beckum and all the volunteers and contributors for over the last fifty-three years.
Woman’s Auxiliary Contributions
The Beckum-Stapleton Woman’s Auxiliary has supported the league from the beginning. The first President of the Woman’s Auxiliary was Delores Hathaway. The current president, Mrs. Naomi Walker, has served in this role since 1978. The Woman’s Auxiliary has run the picnic, Awards Night Banquet, Registration, and other league activities. The annual picnic started at Lincoln park, and later moved to Carver Park. The annual banquet was originally held at Greater Galilee Baptist Church. Later the banquet was held at Andrew Douglass Academy. Today, the banquet has transformed into an Awards Night. The Woman’s Auxiliary also has developed the Carver Park concession stand into best concession stand in Milwaukee.