T-Ball Pioneer Dies at 93

Jerome Sacharski developed system to teach youngsters baseball fundamentals
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 2:26 PM CST
In a photo provided by Albion, Mich., historian Frank Passic, Jerry Sacharski, left, gives instructions to 5-year-old Craig LeClair in 1958.   (Frank Passic via Battle Creek Enquirer)

(Newser) – Baseball lost a compassionate innovator last week with the passing of Jerome “Jerry” Sacharski, 93, the inventor of the baseball tee, the Battle Creek Enquirer reports. Sacharski introduced the tee in 1956 as part of his Pee Wee Baseball program, and is credited with popularizing the game.

His achievement was somewhat overshadowed by the invention of Tee Ball, another tee-based youth baseball system that now boasts a large following—though that version was invented by a Florida man in 1960. “The greatest kick I ever got was teaching kids how to start out. That's what was important to me,” Sacharski, a teacher and coach from 1951-1980, said of his career as an educator.