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Subject: Edgar P. Beardsley, created the Challenger Division of Little League

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Date Posted: November 27, 2002 10:22:35 EDT

Edgar P. "Ed" Beardsley, who was credited with founding a Little League division for disabled children, died Tuesday at Bristol Hospital. He was 61.

Beardsley began playing baseball with his 8-year-old son, David, and four other disabled children in 1986. Word spread about what he was doing and within three years mentors were doing the same in other states.

Little League officially took on the idea in 1989 and named it the Challenger Division. Today, there are 25,000 handicapped athletes in the program.

A self-employed accountant, Beardsley was the recipient of the first Little League Challenger Award in 1998. He and his wife, Ann Bachand, represented Bristol in the third series of "T-Ball on the South Lawn" at the White house with President Bush.

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