SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT -- The creator of the baseball and softball helmet we know today, the former CEO and president of Little League International, has died. Dr. Creighton Hale passed away this week.
"We're sad to lose him, but we are also extremely happy to have had him in our lives for so many years," said Stephen Keener, President and CEO of Little League International.
He's the inventor of the batting helmet baseball and softball players use today. A physiologist and the former president and CEO of Little League International, but to those who really knew him, Dr. Creighton J. Hale was much more.
"I was with him the day he passed. Not only was he a mentor but he was a dear friend," said Keener.
This week, Little League International announced Hale passed away at the age of 93.
After 60 years of service, Hale's accomplishments are etched into the history of Little League International in South Williamsport.
"This is the cannon that Dr. Hale created in 1958. It used compressed air and it would fire a baseball into this barrel into a helmet,” said Lance VanAuken the vice president of Little League International.
If Little League fans want, they can hear more about the invention through a message recorded by Hale. It's part of an interactive exhibit at the Little League Museum.
"Just the fact that we'll have him here every day, forever is comforting to a lot of us," said VanAuken.
"He was really down to earth. He liked to kid a lot,” said Richard Reitz.
Reitz has been volunteering at Little League since the 1980s. He says Hale tried to make real connections even through a letter.
"It's special, that's why I kept it," said Reitz while holding a letter Hale sent him.
"A great friend, very kind man who understood that little baseball and softball fields were nothing more than fun-filled classrooms," said Keener.
That's a legacy Little League International plans to keep alive in South Williamsport.