ANDERSON — To say that Little League Baseball had a friend in Bill Dickerson would be like saying that hot dogs taste a bit better at the ballpark than at home.

Dickerson was affiliated with Anderson Little League for 50 years and was a founding father of that league.

So it’s likely that thousands of people who went through that program, as well as hundreds more who knew him in other ways, were deeply saddened when Dickerson passed away Sunday.

“He was a dandy guy,” said Bill Pitts, who served for 10 years as an assistant to Dickerson in Little League. “He never met a stranger. He gave a smile and a pat on the back. He loved teaching baseball and he was good at it.”

“I met Bill in 1977 when I was coaching at the old Meadowbrook Little League,” said Gary Brammer, who until recently served as the Little League district administrator. “In 1980, he asked me to be his assistant to replace Bill Pitts.”

Dickerson coached youth baseball, basketball and football. He also coached in the Anderson Community Schools system, at St. Ambrose and in Pendleton. He also worked as an official in several sports from the youngest levels through college.

When he was in fifth grade, an accident suffered while playing basketball permanently injured his left leg. “He never let his disability stop him,” Brammer said. “He played competitive softball for 30 years and once caught a 23-inning game. He was competitive.”

For Brammer, Dickerson’s attitude and personality were perfect matches for his involvement with Little League and youth sports.

“He was always positive,” Brammer said. “He loved to watch them play. He’d lean on the fence and say things like, ‘He should throw a curveball right now. I bet he could get him out with a curve.’ He could always tell which the best team was right away at the district tournaments.”

The Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., was a highlight for him each summer.

“He went to every World Series,” said Brammer. “Anyone who wanted to go to a World Series could always stay with Bill. He didn’t care if there were two people or 20 people in the room.”

Two of Dickerson’s fondest World Series memories were 1987, when Chesterfield played in that series, and when Anderson umpire Dave Dickey got to work the series.

“It is every district administrator’s secret wish to have a team go all the way to Williamsport,” Pitts said. “When he had an umpire go to the World Series, he took it as recognition of the group of local umpires he had.”

As the head of the Little League, he was more than fair to his assistants.

“Bill never minded taking the heat,” Brammer said. “But when there was praise, he always made sure his assistants received it.”

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