Local business owner and baseball fanatic George Luff will get the opportunity of a lifetime this August when he steps out onto the field as the umpire for the 2012 Little League World Series Tournament in South Williamsport, PA. A lifelong baseball player, umpire and coach, Luff is excited to live his childhood dream that he came so close to realizing as a player 42 years ago.
At the age of 12, Luff played for the local Camden Wyoming All-Star team that was predicted to go all the way to the World Series. As he came to the plate in the sixth inning their team trailed 1-0 and needed a big play to get back in the game. Luff hit a pitch that was headed for the fences and began his home run trot around the bases. Realizing that the ball was short of a home run Luff hustled around first and made it to second base safely. At the end of the game though, George was left on second and the Camden Wyoming All-Stars did not advance to the World Series Tournament.
“I swore the baseball Gods blew that ball back into the park that day; when I hit that thing it was gone,” commented George reflecting on that game 42 years later. “My mother tells the story that when I walked off the field I was so disappointed and said to her ‘I am not going to Williamsport unless I can play.’”
George has continued his love for baseball as an advocate for Little League as a coach and umpire for close to 35 years. Now the owner of a successful Certified Public Accounting business in Milford, Luff always took the time to introduce the game of baseball to his three sons and children around the community. His wife Cathy of 35 years has been George’s biggest supporter and number one fan as he has made the transition from player to coach to umpire.
“Cathy has been keeping the scorebook for me since I was a sophomore playing ball for Lake Forest,” commented Luff. “She has traveled around the country with me as I have umpired and has supported my love of the game. Baseball is a huge part of our lives together.”
In 2004 Luff had the opportunity to umpire in the Little League East Regionals in Bristol, Connecticut. His experience calling 6 State Championships, several High School All-Star games and an uncountable number of local Little League games prepared George as the first umpire from Milford to participate in the Eastern Regional Tournament. After Bristol, he applied to call the World Series tournament in Williamsport, PA along with thousands of other individuals from around the United States. Forty-Two years after his close encounter with the World Series Tournament as a child, Luff would get the chance to be on the field during the Little League World Series.
On August 16 George will join an umpiring crew of members assembled from around the world to call what is the highest game in Little League Baseball. Out of thousands of applicants, he has been chosen as only one umpire to represent the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. For ten days Luff will umpire the game he loves so much played by the best Little Leaguers from around the world.