HistoryUpdatedSaturday January 3, 2015 byAdam Gran.
The Smithfield Little League was founded in 1951 by Rudy Alarie, a local photographer, and commemorated its 60th year of existence in 2011.
The league began with a dozen boys and one team and played as the team from Smithfield as a part of the four team league in the Mt. Pleasant Little League. Home games were played at the Esmond Oval located behind the mills in the Esmond section of town. At that time the Esmond Oval was one of only two regulation size ball fields in town. The bases were brought in to 60 feet for little league games. The pitchers threw from 44 feet on a flat surface in front of the regulation mound. A regulation little league field was constructed three years later behind the PA club in Georgiaville. That field is gone today, but as more and more boys began playing, a new field was later added on the site of the Smithfield Chemical Company. That field also disappeared in the early '60's as the land was bought up by the school department for the eventual construction of Smithfield High School. Somewhere around the late '50's a field was constructed behind the town hall and named for the late John Mendes, another one at the end of Willow Road, two others on the campuses of the McCabe and LaPerche elementary schools, another at the foot of Whipple Road , and in 2007 the town's newest field was built in Deerfield Park and named for Louis DiNoble, the league's first lifetime BOD member.
In 1954 Alarie saw the need for boys to continue playing after the age of 12 so he entered a team in the R.I. Junior League for boys 13 to 15 and in the Providence City Circuit League two years later for boys 15 and 16. Soon afterwards that age bracket of boys had their own league right here in town as the Smithfield Little League Organization began the town junior league for 13, 14 and 15's. The league began with 4 teams and played all their games in town. Sometime in the nineties a Senior League division was added for 16 through 18's..Today the league hosts teams from the challenger league to T-ball, to farm minor, to farm major, to little league, to junior and senior league, and several summer tournament teams.
In the year 1964 the Smithfield Little League(who was part of District 3 at the time) took home their first State Championship by first defeating Riverside 4-0 in the Semi-final game and continuing their run by defeating Cranston American 5-0 in the title game.
The 2nd State title came in the year 1967 (in the 2nd season as District 4) Defeating North Kingstown 11-1 in the semi final game and continuing there way by defeating Olneyville 6-0 to Become State Champions in 1967.
It is estimated that more than 3,000 boys have graduated from our league. Many have gone on to play high school and college ball and on to become coaches and baseball umpires themselves.
In 1973 and 1975 league president Robert Salisbury established the Sportsmanship Award and the Man of the Year Award, respectively. These awards have been carried on since '73 and '75 and are presented to one player from every team and an adult graduate of the league at the end of the year banquet, annually. More than 900 boys have received the Sportsmanship Award over the years and 34 league graduates, from all walks of life, have been selected as the Man of the Year.
The league membership began its meetings in the Georgiaville Town Hall back in the 50's, moved to the high school in '72 and to the PA Club sometime in the '80's. It houses its equipment upstairs in the old Smithfield Commercial High School building, now the VFW building.
The Smithfield Little League is still The Best Show in Town.