Laguna youth participate in Norworth ceremony

Eating Cracker Jack and singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," players from Laguna Beach Little League were on hand Sunday to honor the late-Jack Norworth, who penned the famous song in 1908.

Norworth, a Laguna Beach resident, died 51 years after writing what has become a seventh-inning staple at major league ballparks throughout the country.

He was honored with a new monument at his gravesite at Melrose Abbey Memorial Park, located just outside of Angel Stadium. Former Major League pitcher Rollie Fingers delivered remarks during the dedication ceremony.

Laguna Beach players and their parents helped pay tribute to Norworth's "life and legacy," Laguna Beach Little League President Jennifer Sweet said.

"It was a great celebration of a man who not only wrote a great baseball song but helped establish Little League in Laguna Beach in 1952," Sweet said. "I was honored to participate in the ceremony and have kids from our league see first-hand their connection to this famous man and his song.

"The Jack Norworth trophy, which our league hands down to the majors division season winner each year, was a great hit with the crowd. I think it was nice to have something that connected the past with the present. Having the trophy there did that."

Fantasy Designs was presented with the perpetual trophy for winning the 2010 Laguna Beach Little League Majors division championship.

Sweet said the monument was donated by High Desert Monuments, a family-owned small business located in Hesperia.

"When hearing about this project, we did not do it for money," Maria Sotelo, owner of High Desert Monuments, said. "We did it because this is the classic case of going unknown. We wanted to be a part of helping recognize someone that did such a huge thing for baseball all over the world. This monument is not only for Jack Norworth, but for everyone, especially our kids."

"I think what High Desert Monuments did was fantastic and very generous," Sweet said. "They could not have had this great event to honor Jack Norworth without them."

Sunday's ceremony honoring Norworth was part of the festivities surrounding the 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game, won by the National League, 3-1, Tuesday, at Angel Stadium. It was the National League's first win in the game since 1996.

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