For three days in August, 1947, Ray "Skip" Singley was king of the world.
Every summer, when the nation's 12- and 13-year-olds take the field at the Little League World Series, Singley sits back and remembers the day long ago when his team of Maynard Midgets, of Williamsport, Pa., were crowned the inaugural champions.
In the 67 intervening years, Singley, now 79, has traveled the world for work, become an expert yoga instructor, played countless hours of tennis and found a way to stay tanned and fit.
But nothing fills him with quite the same level of pride as remembering that Aug. 23 evening when his troupe of tired all-stars captured a 16-7 win over local rivals Lock Haven Little League to win it all.
Little did he know that championship would be the first in a celebration of youth baseball that now spans the globe and is watched in homes around the country.
"I look forward to it every year," Singley said. "It is amazing. If you stood us next to the people that play today, they're probably six inches or more taller and heavier, more muscular. So who knows how we would compare to them."
The Maynard Midgets were one of 12 teams from four states playing at Max M. Brown Memorial Park in Williamsport. They rolled to an 8-1 win in the opener, slugged out a 10-4 win the next day and prepared to play twice on Saturday for the crown. It took 10 innings for Singley and Co. to squeak by Lincoln in the semifinal, a tense 2-1 affair.
That game ended when Jack Losch, who would go on to have a brief stint with the Green Bay Packers, drove in the winning run on a single.
"We were small and fast, and not heavy hitters but we knew how to hit," Singley recalled.
Singley said the team then had to turn around and play in the final. The players were exhausted, the sun was setting and the game finished just before dark. In the postgame photo, a group of weary, relieved and smiling youngsters pose with the trophy as night fell.
"We finished right before dark, so we were exhausted," Singley said. "We didn't realize what we did, really. The significance of it."
Back in 1987, members of the team got together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the win. It was a good time, Singley said, a chance to see many of the guys he hadn't seen since they all grew up playing baseball at a nearby park together, summer after summer. Singley and his father would head to the nearby playground and Singley, an outfielder during that World Series, would commence fielding fly ball after fly ball.
"He never hit me grounders," Singley said.
He and his wife now live at Sun City in Bluffton. Singley works hard to stay in shape and enjoys staying active. He's relaxed, friendly and welcoming. The TV in a nearby room was stuck on ESPN. He still loves sports and will surely be sitting down once again to tune in for this week's festivities in Williamsport.
"You wonder, well how would you have competed with them?," Singley said of today's Little Leaguers. "There's always something special about being first."
2014 Little League World Series Glance
By The Associated Press
All Times EDT
At South Williamsport, Pa.
GREAT LAKES, Chicago; MID-ATLANTIC, Philadelphia; MIDWEST, Rapid City, S.D.; NEW ENGLAND, Cumberland, R.I.; NORTHWEST, Lynnwood, Wash.; SOUTHEAST, Nashville, Tenn.; SOUTHWEST, Pearland, Texas; WEST, Las Vegas
ASIA-PACIFIC, Seoul, South Korea; AUSTRALIA, Perth; CANADA, Vancouver, B.C.; CARIBBEAN, Humacao, Puerto Rico; EUROPE & AFRICA, Brno, Czech Republic; JAPAN, Tokyo; LATIN AMERICA, Maracaibo, Venezuela; MEXICO, Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon
Thursday, Aug. 14
Game 1: Brno vs. Seoul, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Chicago vs. Lynnwood, 3 p.m.
Game 3: Perth vs. Humacao, 5 p.m.
Game 4: Las Vegas vs. Rapid City, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 15
Game 5: Vancouver vs. Guadalupe, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Philadelphia vs. Nashville, 3 p.m.
Game 7: Tokyo vs. Maracaibo, 5 p.m.
Game 8: Pearland vs. Cumberland, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 16
Game 9: Loser G1 vs. Loser G3, Noon
Game 10: Loser G2 vs. Loser G4, 2 p.m.
Game 11: Loser G5 vs. Loser G7, 5 p.m.
Game 12: Loser G6 vs. Loser G8, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 17
Game 13: Winner G1 vs. Winner G3, Noon
Game 14: Winner G2 vs. Winner G4, 2 p.m.
Game 15: Winner G5 vs. Winner G7, 5 p.m.
Game 16: Winner G6 vs. Winner G8, 7 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 18
Loser G9 vs. Loser G10, 11 a.m.
Game 17: Winner G9 vs. Loser G15, 1 p.m.
Game 18: Winner G10 vs. Loser G16, 3 p.m.
Game 19: Winner G11 vs. Loser G13, 6 p.m.
Game 20: Winner G12 vs. Loser G14, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 19
Loser G11 vs. Loser G12, Noon
Game 21: Winner G17 vs. Winner G19, 3 p.m.
Game 22: Winner G18 vs. Winner G20, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 20
Game 23: Winner G13 vs. Winner G15, 3 p.m.
Game 24: Winner G14 vs. Winner G16, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 21
Game 25: Winner G21 vs. Loser G23, 3 p.m.
Game 26: Winner G22 vs. Loser G24, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 23
Winner G23 vs. Winner G25, 12:30 p.m.
United States Championship
Winner G24 vs. winner G26, 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 24
At Lamade Stadium
Loser G27 vs. Loser G28, 10 a.m.
Winner G27 vs. Winner G28, 3 p.m.