History of CVUA

The “Cumberland Valley Umpires Association” was formed in 1946 for the purpose of serving the West Shore Twilight/Men’s League; prior to the formation of the Association each team in the league had its own individual umpire! Some of the earliest officers in the Chapter were Bill Abergost and Terry Palmer who both served as President and Board Members Bucky Devine, Murray Zimmerman, Harold Beattie, Doc Cramer.

In the chapter’s early years, two men who were extremely influential in its growth and development were Mr. Purcell “Bud” Ecker of Boiling Springs. Mr. Ecker was a graduate of Gettysburg College, and a three-sport coach and educator at Boiling Springs High School. The other driving force during this period was Mr. George Wrightstone, a federal employee at the Mechanicsburg Naval Supply Depot was also extremely active within the borough of Lemoyne and with church functions. Both of these visionaries remained active within the chapter for many years, with Mr. Ecker serving as president and Mr. Wrightstone executing the duties of Umpire in Chief. Some of the other officers during this period were Mr. John “Babe” Fields, Secretary/Treasurer and Mr. Rocky Flamin, Rules Interpreter.

Within a short period of time, under the direction of Mr. Ecker and Mr. Wrightstone, the association grew large enough to add additional leagues including Little League, American Legion, Teeners and two additional Men’s leagues; Perry/Juniata Men’s League and the South Penn Men’s League. During this time the chapter was also involved on the collegiate level with local schools such as Gettysburg College, Messiah College, Elizabethtown College, Franklin and Marshal College in Lancaster, and additional games at both Shippensburg State College and Penn State.

The Association began to formalize itself as a Constitution was framed, regular meetings were held and the membership began to take on the air of professionalism. The Chapter began holding end of the year banquets at the Chalet Restaurant in Dillsburg, umpires ladies were presented with flowers and centerpieces, delicious meals were served and major league ball players and umpires were brought in as guest speakers for these occasions. During this time Mr. Ecker continued to serve as President, Mr. John Fields held the joint office of Secretary/Treasurer and Mr. George Wrightstone held the office of Umpire in Chief. All of these gentlemen held these offices until their respective deaths. They were however the leaders of the Chapter and foresight and planning the present day membership of the Chapter stands at over one hundred active umpires servicing all of the baseball in the Greater West Shore Area of central Pennsylvania.

The contributions of Mr. George Wrightstone to baseball in Central Pennsylvania cannot be over stressed. The debt that is owed to this individual in particular can be seen every year in the balloting for and the presentation of the George Wrightstone Award. This award is bestowed yearly to the High School baseball organization demonstrating the highest ideals of sportsmanship at the interscholastic level. This is the legacy of Mr. George Wrightstone.

Some of the outstanding umpires in the early years of the Cumberland Valley Umpires Association were:

Mr. Bob Goodhart who worked in the high minor leagues of professional baseball who upon his return to the area joined the CVUA became its rules interpreter, teacher and a leader for many years. At the time of his death, which involved a lengthy illness, the Chapter started the Firecracker Men’s Tournament” as a fundraiser to assist in offsetting Mr. Goodhart’s medical expenses. During its peak, the tournament evolved to over forty teams from the East Coast of the United States and involved umpires from both the east and west shores of Central Pennsylvania.

Mr. Lorin Stough who succeeded Mr. Fields as Secretary/Treasurer and kept the Association books as well as developing mailers and the newsletter format still used today.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s the CVUA developed a supplementary medical insurance plan for its members, held annual year-end banquets, continued to conduct structured meetings which included such sites as the Mechanicsburg VFW, the Erie Insurance Building, Messiah College, First United Methodist Church in Mechanicsburg, Allen Middle School in the West Shore School District and its current site, East Pennsboro Middle School.

In all probability, there is not another baseball chapter in the state of Pennsylvania that handles all levels of baseball from high school in the spring; little league through men’s leagues in the summer and fall ball through the autumn providing for a full baseball year than the Cumberland Valley Umpires Association. The Association has become a nine-month “on the Field” and a year around association with organized meetings, clinics, recruiting processes and other business issues.