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Posted by Al DeMaio at Jun 3, 2006 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )


by Jerry Weldon
         John L. Sullivan was born in the north end of Springfield in 1899. Although he was named John Joseph Sullivan he was such a big fan of the boxing legend John L. Sullivan that he was called John L. by his friends and the name stayed with him for the rest of his life.
         A sports enthusiast from an early age, he loved all sports and took pleasure in organizing groups for games. Even as a youth he became a leader and others looked to John L. for help when it came to getting games together.
         An early example of his leadership abilities became apparent when at the age of 18 he managed a baseball team called the Liberty Braves with notable success. In the 1920's he organized the City Baseball Leagues and became the league president.

         When the City Council created the job 'Director of Juvenile Activities' they had to look no further than to John L. to fill the post. If ever a man and a job were meant for each other, this was it. So good was his memory that he kept track of schedules and even team rosters in his head. This was just another example of his commitment to youth sports.

         The boys of that era had a great friend in John L. He was always there for them, ready to help and always advised "Let's play it clean kids". Now deceased for over 50 years, The King of Kids name lives on as we play under the banner of "John L. Sullivan Sandlot Leagues".