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Who was Harry O.?

The Glade Valley Athletic Association (GVAA) owes its existence to the dedicated and tireless efforts of Harry O. Smith.  Many years ago, Harry would drive around to the rural farms to pick up young players in his truck to go play baseball. Harry was a strong community leader his entire life and his dedication to the youth of Frederick County is an inspiration to all of us who follow in his path. Harry had a passion for teaching young people. He not only coached, but he was an educator in the school system as well.

Harry O. founded Little League Baseball in Walkersville in 1951. That first non-uniformed team played "Big League Baseball on a Little League Diamond" and, as an independent team, compiled an 18-2 record.

In 1952, Harry O. was a founder of the GVAA, and that same year founded the Frederick County Junior Baseball League (FCJBL). Walkersville was the league's first champion with a record of 21-3. That league included teams from Middletown and Myersville.

Harry O. went on to coach the Walkersville team for 21 years, winning 250 games, losing 126, with 5 championship teams and 6 runners up. During this 21 year period over 20 Frederick County communities were represented by teams playing in the FCJBL.

On March 19, 1999, Harry O. Smith, namesake of the Harry O. Smith Memorial Tournament, died at the age of 90.  That same year, the Walkersville High School boys baseball and girls softball teams both won the state title - only the second time in state history that both a baseball and softball team from the same school have won.  Those wins were a fitting tribute to the man who dedicated so much of his life to Walkersville youth baseball.

On April 10, 1999, opening day of the GVAA's 1999 baseball season, Field Number 4 at Walkersville's Heritage Farm Park was named the Harry O. Smith Memorial Field. The ceremony included the dedication of a plaque honoring Harry O. attached to the press box adjacent to the field. Harry may be gone, but he lives on in the spirit of our youth.

Harry O. and GVAA's First Little League Team, pictured in 1952.  Standing:  Wayne Duncan, Charles Ausherman, Larry Redmond, Coach Harry O. Smith, Dick Smith, Bill Powell, Wayne Zimmerman, Bobby Moore.  Kneeling:  Grayson Ramsburg, Norman McBride, Ron Smith, Keith Duncan, Wayne Swomley, Wendell Clem, Larry Duncan.  Sitting:  Roy Moore, Gene Green, Richard Zimmerman, Ed Shelton, Harry Crum.  
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