John Villella reflects on 25 years as
District One Babe Ruth League commissioner
By JOE O’GORMAN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 09/24/14, 4:15 PM EDT |
Over the last 25 years, a lot has changed in the structure, coaching and administration of youth baseball.
However, the one constant factor has been the role of John Villella as the Babe Ruth League District One Commissioner.
Leagues have changed, league presidents have changed ... even the rules have changed, yet under the leadership of Villella, baseball in District One has continued to operate at a standard that rises above it all.
Babe Ruth’s headquarters have been based in Mercer County since its inception and the tireless efforts of Villella to maintain a top-notch district have not gone unnoticed.
“District One is the flagship area for the Babe Ruth League,” said BRL vice president Robert Faherty. “It is the home of where it all started and John represents the Babe Ruth League with great passion.”
Villella’s passion has been burning since he managed in the Ewing Babe Ruth League. Over the last 25 years, Villella has taken District One to the highest level.
Whether it is a league president, a state commissioner, a regional commissioner or BRL headquarters they all know they can call on Villella for help and support.
Villella’s involvement in Babe Ruth Baseball covers 42 years, and in an era where change in leadership is often, Villella continues to carry the BRL mantle.
Under Villella’s guidance, District One has seen fall baseball grow each year. The all-tournament game at Arm & Hammer Park (formerly Waterfront Park), a cooperative effort with the Trenton Thunder, has been an event close to Villella’s heart.
“It’s really great to be able to give the kids an opportunity to play a game there,” Villella said. “It’s about being able to do something for the kids.”
This year every state tournament at the Babe Ruth level was hosted by a league in District One. It’s a tribute to Villella and his staff that the district has become the premier host of Babe Ruth baseball.
“It really makes me feel good that the tournaments are here,” Villella said. “It’s a compliment to my staff and me. I have a very hard working staff. Jack Lippincott was on my staff for 23 years and I couldn’t ask for a better commissioner. Tony Gould has been there for 20 some years and he just retired. Guys like that have helped me make the district what it is.”
The district allows kids to learn the game, play the game and play it in an extremely well organized venue.
“John is committed to the leagues and the players in District One,” Faherty said. “His experience as a Babe Ruth parent, coach and league administrator has made it personal for John. Babe Ruth headquarters has the utmost respect for John and his staff for the many years of dedicated and tireless service.”
Right there with Villella has been his wife, Joan. She not only provides him with the time to foster his passion, she gives all she can to make the district better, too.
“I just try to do the right thing for everyone especially the kids” Villella said. “Joan has been a treasure for this district. I’ve been lucky to surround myself with a great staff and the presidents in this district are wonderful”
Villella’s passion, dedication and love for Babe Ruth baseball over the past 25 years have made District One a special place for kids to play the game.