BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Twice a week, bats are swung and cheers are heard at Harrington Park, all thanks to Tom Bell.
"When they start and don’t even know how to hit the ball and run, it’s the progression that’s some of the most satisfying," said Tom.
When Tom and his wife, Kay, moved to Bakersfield in 1978, they wanted their kids to play baseball.
“I couldn’t find anything so that’s when we started this," he said.
Tom created the Park Stockdale T-ball League in 1981.
“It got real popular, up to like twelve teams," he said.
And he still manages the 50 to 60 players today.
“It was a little bit more competitive back then but now we’re more of a mother-father league with the kids," said Tom.
Last season was canceled due to COVID-19.
"[We] had a lot of disappointed children and parents," said Kay.
And Tom was leery of hosting the league this year but it’s back in full swing.
“It’s been fun to watch how many parents have participated this year. The parents have really come out and they’re just all over the place helping. It’s really been enjoyable to watch," said Tom.
Tom and Kay said every season is a home run, watching the kids smile big and learn to play.
"I think the most fun part of it is that we have children that played with us way back and they now come to the league [with] their children," said Kay.
This season will come to a close with the end of the school year and it’ll pick back up next spring.
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