36 years ago, a team from Lakewood, NJ won the Little League World Series. This Tuesday is Lakewood Township Night at FirstEnergy Park and we’ll honor that team with one of their coaches, Dick Work.
You can order tickets to that game by clicking here. Work will be there to throw out a ceremonial first pitch with a few players and we’ll have some of that team’s memorabilia. It will be a great thing to see on Monday.
Work was the Co-Manager of the 1975 Lakewood Little League team that won the Little League World Series that year. He coached Little League, Youth Basketball, and Pop Warner Football for over 25 years, he was the Mayor of Lakewood for 4 years, worked 47 years for Jersey Central Power & Light, and was a Volunteer Firefighter for 26 years with Engine Company #1 in Lakewood.
Mr. Work is excited to be at the game on the 26th, and we had a chance to talk with him about that 1975 Lakewood Little League squad that won it all:
The most amazing moment of that entire season:
“Just the fact that we won 17 straight games to win it all was remarkable. Nowadays the tournament is double elimination, but back then we had to win every day, and it was really an amazing run we had.”
Single most memorable game:
“After we won Districts in Point Pleasant, we went to the State Finals in Hamilton. We were trailing by 2 runs going into the 6th inning, and our first 2 batters got out. I remember thinking to myself ‘Well, it has been a good run’. I don’t remember who the hitter was, but he swung and missed at 2 straight curveballs, and then for some reason the pitcher threw a fastball and he hit him with it. Then the next 3 guys up all got hits and we won. It was an unbelievable comeback.”
“After we won States in Hamilton, we went and played in Hagerstown, MD. We gave up 2 runs in the top of the first, and it just wasn’t looking good. We were facing a really good pitcher. But, we went out there and loaded the bases for Dion Lowe who was probably our best hitter. And I remember this just like it was yesterday. Some guy, he wasn’t a coach or anything, just a fan, ran out behind the fence in Centerfield and was screaming “WALK HIM! WALK HIM!” But, they didn’t. They pitched to him, and he hit a Grand Slam and we took the lead and never gave it up. We won that game and then headed to Williamsport, PA”
On what made that team so good:
“We had 5 good pitchers and a whole team full of kids that could hit, and that is really exactly what it takes. We also had 5 kids who turned 13 after the date where they are still allowed to play with the 12 year olds. You wouldn’t think that makes a difference, but it really does when you are talking about 12 and 13-year olds.”
Talks about the 14 kids that made up the team:
“The kids really were great the whole way. They never stopped playing hard the whole time. It was a crazy schedule, and it was quite the experience. I really do think they appreciated it. But when they had to play, they were always ready to go.”