Bellefonte Little League
Hall of Fame
Bellefonte Little League Alumni
Bellefonte Little League is proud of all its alumni. We enjoy hearing back from all of our former players, coaches and officials. Feel free to contact us to let us know where you are and what you are doing. If you have notable alumni that you would like to see posted below please send us their name and a brief description. Here are a few to start, the league looks forward to adding to our list. Send your nominee for considerations to [email protected] with the subject line “Little League Alumni”. You can also visit the Bellefonte Little League Alumni page on facebook (the facebook page is administrated by the alumni and is not affiliated with the Bellefonte Little League)
Frank Webster – February 17th 1949, Frank Webster founded the Bellefonte Little League. Mr. Webster was elected the first League president and served in that capacity for a number of years. In 1964 the original field (field 1) was named Webster Field in honor of Mr. Webster.
Judge Charles Brown Jr– A prestigious member of the Bellefonte Community. Judge Brown played for the league’s first championship team, Foresman’s Oldsmobile, and was also a member of the FIRST All-Star team in 1949. Judge Brown also coached the Bellefonte Lions for many years. This local “boy” has had many honors bestowed upon him, including a tribute from Senator Santorum and has worked hard within the community to make it a better place. I bet if you ask him later today what his favorite thing about baseball is he would probably say playing also being able to come back 65 years later to celebrate along with other players from that first year and share their experiences with all of the current players, members and volunteers.
Denny Leathers– One of the players of the 1959 Bellefonte Little League state championship team, and the 1961 Bellefonte Babe Ruth State Champions. Upon graduating from Bellefonte High in 1963 he began a professional baseball career that lasted five-and-a-half seasons. He initially signed and played for the Philadelphia Phillies, and then later for the San Francisco Giant organization. He took over the Bellefonte High School baseball program in 1982 and has an amassing 378 coaching victories since then, thanks to winning records in 26 of his 28 seasons. During his tenure, the red and white have collected seven Central Penn League championships, three District 6 titles, and one MAC championship. His 1987 team, which finished third in the state, was ranked as high as sixth in the nation by USA Today. Denny retired from coaching the Bellefonte High School Baseball program in 2011. On October 15th 2017 Denny was one of the first to be inducted to the Centre County Sports Hall of Fame.
Jake Corman – In Little League Jake played for “The Bank” Managed by Al Thal. He was elected to the Senate of Pennsylvania in 1998 and is now serving his fourth consecutive term. Senator Corman represents the 34th Senatorial District, which includes all of Juniata, Perry and portions of Centre, Mifflin, and Union Counties.
Senator Corman is currently the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He also serves as a member of the Banking and Insurance, Education, Rules and Executive Nominations, and State Government Committees.
Jake coached and managed his 3 children from TeeBall to the Majors. He also managed the 2018 12u All Star team to the leauge’s 11th district 5 title for this age group.
Jeremy Rose – In Little League Jeremy played for “the Bank” Managed by Al Thal. Currently, Jeremy is an American Thoroughbred racehorse jockey. He began his career as a professional rider at Delaware Park in Wilmington, Delaware and in 2001 was his breakout year and he was voted the United States’ Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey.
In 2005, Rose guided Afleet Alex, to victory in two American Classic Races, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. His performances that year earned him the ESPY Award as the top American jockey of 2005. He earned his 1000th career victory at Delaware Park on July 3, 2005.
Eric Milton – In Little League Eric played for “the Bank” Managed by Al Thal. Eric was on the All-Star roster that took the Bellefonte Little League to our second appearance in the Little League state championship, managed by Andy Thal. A few years later Eric was on the team that won a state championship for the Bellefonte VFW Teener-League program, managed by Dick Leathers, the brother of Denny Leathers. Eric graduated from the University of Maryland and in 1996 became a first-round draft pick, (20th overall) for the New York Yankees. Eric played 13 years in the Major Leagues, playing for the Minnesota Twins where he pitch a no-hitter on September 11, 1999. Eric also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees and ended his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.
2012 Eric was named as University of Maryland interim head coach. Currently, Eric is passing along his knowledge as a High School Baseball coach at Severna Park High School in Maryland.
Rich Rogers – In Little League Rich played for “the Bank” Managed by Al Thal. Rich worked as an accountant before getting elected as a Centre County Commissioner in 2004. Rich currently is the owner-operator of the Bellefonte Sports Academy at the Rink.
Joe Putnam – In Little League Joe played for Don’s Garage (no longer a sponsor). Joe graduated from Syracuse University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications. While at Syracuse, Joe worked at WAER-FM, hosting pre-game and post-game shows for the station’s coverage of Orange football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games. Joe also hosted the weekly magazine show “Sportsnight” on WAER, which won the Syracuse Press Club award for Best Sports Radio Show in the market in 2005.
After graduation, Joe worked for the Auburn Doubledays as assistant director of broadcasting and media relations and was on the mic when the Doubledays won the 2007 New York-Penn League title. Currently, Joe is with the State College Spikes as the Media Relations Manager and Radio Broadcaster on the Spikes Radio Network. Joe has also twice appeared on the ESPN sports trivia game show “Stump the Schwab.”
Kenneth “Buck” Smith (July 13, 1938 – June 19, 2012) Buck was an important part of Bellefonte Little League for many years until he took ill and was not able to come around as much. He was our jack of all trades, master of most or at least that is what he would have told you. If anything needed to be done Buck was there to help, from doing the electrical work on our scoreboards and in the concession stand to painting stars in the outfield for All-Star games. Bellefonte little league was bucks second family, he enjoyed being part of the little league tradition, he worked hard for the league and never asked anything in return. Buck would tell you he was Bellefonte Little League’s #1 fan. Buck made friends for life through the little league and will be missed dearly by his Bellefonte Little League family and friends.
Harold “Pickle” Rossman- Pickle, was the Manager of the First Bellefonte Bank team which became Mid State Bank, later M&T bank, within the league this sponsor is simply known as the Bank. In 1958 Pickle manage the first Bellefonte team to win the district title, the team went on to win the sectional and to bring back Bellefonte Little League’s only State Championship. Pickle went on to volunteer many years for the league and guide its youth through baseball, setting a strong moral and great public standard that many of todays Bellefonte Little League managers still strive for today. Outside the league, Mr. Rossman still set a standard for personal responsibility and mutual respect for the Bellefonte Youth. 1968 Pickle step down as manager of the bank and ask that his replacement be Al Thal.
Al Thal – Since the 1968 “The Bank’s” Manager Al Thal has been a staple for the Bellefonte Little League. In 2009, Al stepped down as manager of the “Bank.” He has still maintained coaching for M&T in addition to his role on the Bellefonte Little League Board as the Safty officer, helping to guide the area’s youth and the league. 2013 will mark Al’s 40th year volunteering with the Bellefonte Little League. 2014 Al Thal will once again took over managing for “the Bank”. Al was asked and accepted to be a co-manager for the 2014 season. In the 80s “the Bank” dominated the decade being only the second team to win 3 championships in a row 82, 83, 84 and capturing their 4th one in 88. Al, in 2016, managed the 3rd Bellefonte post season and the 1st 8-10 year old team that appeared in the Pennsylvania State Tournament. The leauge lost its long standing manager in 2022.
Players from the 1949 Season 2013 Bellefonte Little League celebrated our 65th anniversary, We were honored to celebrate opening day with some of the original players that started it all. Members that were present were:
Walter Baney,Whitye Noll, Tom Mensch, Ward Cole, Hasa McMullin, Joe Kustenbauter, Bob Schreffler, Johnny Taylor, David Hampton, John Saylor, Chuck Brown, Frank Webster, Tip Young, Carrole Dixon, AND A COUPLE OTHERS. The Little League would like to thank all the players, coaches, board members, volunteers, parents, and the community that got the league started in 1949.
Brian James Rosenberg In Little League Brian or “BJ” played for PNC Bank. Son of a military family, BJ moved back to Newport News, Virginia a few years later. BJ went on to play for the University of Louisville and was drafted By the Philadelphia Phillies in the 13th round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. June 9th of 2012 BJ made his Major League debut vs the Baltimore Orioles. Currently, Brian is playing in the minor league system for the Phillies.
Donald Smith (April 14, 1942- July 28, 2016) Bellefonte Little League President 1979-1982, Donny also served as Umpire and Cheif for the Bellefonte Little League and the District Little League and he was one of the President of Legion Baseball. He assisted the Bellefonte Softball Team working on the fields and was also an assistant coach for Bellefonte Teener League. Donald was a 1960 graduate of Bellefonte High School. He worked for many years at G.M. McCrossin in Bellefonte and as a pipe fitter for the Local 520, retiring in 2004, with over 30 years of service. Don continued to volunteer for the Bellefonte Little League helping with countless projects and putting in endless hours the remainder of his life. Donny will be missed by everyone associated with Bellefonte Youth Sports along with his family at the Bellefonte Little League.
Andrew (Andy) Thal– Andy started with the league as a coach for the Bellefonte Lions Club. When the Plumbs Drug Store team needed a manager Andy took the reigns. In the 1970’s The Plumbs Drug Store teams dominated the decade winning championships in 71,72,73,75,76,79 placing 2nd in 74. the first team to win 3 championships in a row. In the summer of 1988, Andy manage the 2nd Major League All-Star team to play in the State Tournament, at Minersville, PA. That team came up one game short of winning the League’s second State Championship and prevented them to advance into the Regionals. Andy, with his longtime friend and Co-manager for the Plumbs Gary Rockey won their last championship in 2002 this would be the last year Andy and Gary coached together as both step down from coaching. Andy stayed on with the league for 2 more years as the League’s Vice President before leaving the league for good so he could focus more on his golf game and family. Not only is Andy a staple of Bellefonte Little League he also is well known in the Bellefonte Wrestling family. Andy was invited back to open the 2018 season as the league’s guest speaker. On October 27th 2019 Andy was inducted to the Centre County Sports Hall of fame.