The Rocker Patch Rock Star: 75th Anniversary Celebrations Come to Upstate New York Little Leagues
Syracuse, N.Y., and Williamsport, Pa., have been tied together since 1948 and the first, fateful meeting between Little League® founder Carl E. Stotz and the man who brought the program to the Syracuse area, Dr. Luke LaPorta.
Dr. LaPorta established a Little League stronghold in the Salt City and became one of the leading Little League volunteers, serving as chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors from 1984 to 1997, and sat on the Board for 40 years, until his death earlier in 2014.
While Dr. LaPorta was representing Little League on an international level, on the ground in Syracuse, running the local Little League programs for more than 35 years, has been Danny Cavallo.
“Luke was so passionate, and I really looked up to him,” said Mr. Cavallo. “We got along marvelously, and he was always a great person to work with on a local level.”
New York District 8's 75th Rocker Patch Collection.
Mr. Cavallo’s passion for Little League goes back more than four decades when he started coaching his children in the same Little League that Dr. LaPorta founded in 1950, Liverpool (N.Y.) Little League. A relatively new District Administrator in 1989, when Little League celebrated its 50th Anniversary, Mr. Cavallo knew he was going to bring the 75th Anniversary to Upstate New York years ago.
“We knew this celebration was coming, and our District Board of Directors were ready to celebrate,” said Mr. Cavallo. “There are a lot of organizations that have fallen by the wayside in the past 75 years. Little League is strong as ever. There is nothing more American than Little League.”
As New York District 8 began planning its celebrations, one thing that Mr. Cavallo wanted to make sure was a part of the commemoration in Syracuse were the 75th Anniversary rocker patches. The special patch to go over the official Little League patch lets every player and umpire show their Diamond Anniversary pride, and Mr. Cavallo made sure that his Little Leaguers and volunteers will be sporting them.
As soon as the patches went on sale, Mr. Cavallo purchased 6,000 of them.
“We will have more than 120 tournament teams in our district this year, and I want to make sure that all of them have the patch,” said Mr. Cavallo. “And once the patches are on the tournament jerseys, I’m making sure all of our umpires have them, too.”
In all, Mr. Cavallo is going to personally see that more than 4,000 patches get affixed to the player uniforms and umpire shirts this spring and summer. The other 2,000 will be available to the leagues in his district.
“We are very excited for this year,” said Mr. Cavallo. “We have a lot of people who are passionate about Little League here in the Syracuse area, and this anniversary celebration is important to us.”
At the 26th Little League International Congress in 2014, Mr. Cavallo was one of nine D.A.s honored with the Little League District Administrator Meritorious Award for his years of dedicated service.
“I’ve coached other sports, but nothing is better than Little League,” said Mr. Cavallo. “As long as I am still breathing, I will be making sure that Little League is still going strong in our towns and cities.”
Danny Cavallo receiving his Little League District Administrator Meritorious Award at the 2014 Little League International Congress from Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman, and Hugh Tanner, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman-Elect.