Little League Baseball lost an icon and a legend in the spring of 2017, with the passing of Jim Scown. Scown was a career Butte miner who was well known for his work at Northwest Little League in Butte. He served as the league president for 26 years from 1970 to 1995. In 1988, the Northwest Little League field on Copper Street was renovated and named “Scown Field” in his honor. In 2016, Montana Little League District 2 created the Jim Scown Distinguished Little League Graduate Award in his honor.
Scown helped begin girls’ Little League softball in Montana in 1974. He was the first league president to provide girls’ softball in the Pacific Northwest, and he is credited with being a pioneer of the sport. During his tenure as president, the girls’ teams at Northwest won nine state titles.
Scown served as an officer of District 2 Little League for 21 years. He served many years as a coach of all sports at the grade school level in Butte schools. Scown’s tenure at the Northwest Little League began in 1954 as an umpire. He started coaching in 1965 with the Ossello’s club. During his own playing days, Scown participated in fast pitch softball. In 2005, Scown was inducted into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Butte Buzzies football team.
In addition to his work pioneering girls’ fast pitch softball in Montana, Scown developed the venue known as “Scown Field” in Butte. Once a mine dump, under the shadows of the Anselmo Mine Headframe, Mr. Scown persevered throughout the years using volunteer labor, neighborhood improvement programs, and all of his heart, to create a “field of dreams” that youngsters in the State of Montana can play Little League Baseball and Softball. The facility is the host to the 2017 Little League Baseball Championship Tournament.
“Whether it be in Little League, school sports, or in the community, Jim was a champion for improving the opportunities and lives of all children and our community no matter what your name was, where you lived, or how rich or poor your family was,” Miller said. “His hard work, determination, and vision set the bar high for others to strive to live up to.”
Many of Mr. Scown’s former players have come back to the program to volunteer and help spread Little League’s message of character, loyalty, and courage. The Jim Scown Distinguished Little League Graduate Award was created in order to recognize those individuals who have come back to the programs in our District to help them continue to flourish. Additionally, the award honors those that live out the examples of character, loyalty, and courage in their everyday lives. Establishing this award is just a small down payment on all the thanks that the former and current participants in Montana Little League District 2 owes to this man. It was once said that “Heroes are remembered, Legends live forever!” Jim Scown is a legend we are fortunate to have benefitted from.
Max Cannon of Missoula is the 2018 recipient of the Jim Scown Distinguished Little League Graduate Award. This is Max's 40th year in Little League as a volunteer. His playing days were spent at Mount Sentinel Little League in the early 1970's. He played for teams such as "THe Fire Department, "Elks 383", and "Hansen's Ice Cream". He had a successful playing career, being named to all star teams in 1972 and 1975. He continued playing after Little League with the Missoula Mavericks American Legion Organization.
Max came back to Little League is 1980. He has served Mt Sentinel Little League as an umpire, coach, manager, board members, equipment manager, safety officer, and player agent to name a few. He is currently the UIC for Mt Sentinel Little League. He works at Bob Ward & Sons in Missoula. His umpire career is highly accoomplished. In 2018, he represented District 2 as a Delegate at the Little League Congress in New Orleans. He has umpired the Western Regional at the Littel League Baseball, Little League Softball, and Little League Senior Softball levels. He has worked the Senior Softball World Series. In 2019, he has been selected to work the 2019 Little League Softball WOrld Series in Appenrose, Oregon.
Max has exemplified the traits described in this award. Above all of his work, he has been a recruiter and mentor to hundreds of umpires coming into the program as umpires. The success of many umpires can be directly related to his mentorship. He has a great sense of humor as well as the ambition to continue to improve himself. Montana District 2 is proud of the accomplishments and contributions of Mac Cannon.
2016 - Meg Murphy (Butte)
2017 - Keith Marr (Great Falls)
2018 - Max Cannon (Missoula)