Skip to comments.The Origin of the Little League Baseball® World Series [75 years of Little League]
Posted on 07/09/2014 5:52:11 AM PDT by FlJoePa
The Origin of the Little League Baseball® World Series
Since its inception, Little League® has shown to be a microcosm of society, reflecting cultural and historical trends. In 75 years, the idea of Little League, devised in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, by Founder Carl E. Stotz in 1938, with its first season in 1939; has rewarded players, families, volunteers and communities with impactful life lessons centered around the games of baseball and softball.
Understandably, the idea took some time to resonate. By 1946, there were only 12 leagues patterned after Mr. Stotzs model.
In 1947, Mr. Stotz and the first local Little League Board of Directors, decided to organize a tournament for all Little League programs (there were 17) and called it the National Little League Tournament, later to be known as the Little League Baseball® World Series.
The 11 teams that participated in the first National Little League Tournament (World Series) in 1947 were:
Williamsport (Original) Little League
Williamsport Sunday School League
Maynard Midget League (Williamsport)
Lincoln League Stars (Williamsport)
Brandon Boys League (Williamsport)
Milton (Pa.) Midget League
Montour Little League (Montoursville, Pa.)
Montgomery (Pa.) Little League
Jersey Shore (Pa.) All Stars
Lock Haven (Pa.) All-Stars
Hammonton (N.J.) All-Stars
The champion was the Maynard Midget League of Williamsport, which defeated the Lock Haven All-Stars, 16-7.
More than 2,500 spectators witnessed the first championship game, and the results were printed in newspapers around the country. The publicity helped spread Little League nationwide.
The rush of excitement surrounded Little League, as it poured over state and national borders. By 1950, the first international Little Leagues had been established at either end of the Panama Canal and in Canada, prompting the National Tournament to be renamed the Little League Baseball® World Series.
In 1959, after 12 Little League Baseball® World Series tournaments had been played on the small field at Brown Memorial Park in Williamsport, the tournament (and the headquarters of Little League) moved five miles east from its original location and across the West Branch of the Susquehanna River to South Williamsport. There the original Howard J. Lamade Field was built. A decade later, wooden bleachers were replaced by concrete grandstands and the stadium began to resemble what so many recognize today.
Fifteen years later, in 1974, Mr. Stotzs Little League Baseball for Boys became Little League Baseball and Softball as girls were welcomed into the program, and Little League Softball® debuted.
To serve the public interest, Little League has added other divisions of play through the years. Teenage baseball divisions (Intermediate 50/70, Junior, Senior and Big League); and Challenger Division for physically and developmentally challenged children have extended the programs outreach. Mirroring the baseball program, softball too has tournament play, including a World Series for players of Little League Major Division age through Big League.
By 1997, the brainchild of Mr. Stotz had steadily grown to include nearly 7,500 leagues in more than 100 countries with nearly three million children playing Little League Baseball or Little League Softball. One million volunteers operate and support the activities of these local leagues.
As the result of the programs remarkable worldwide expansion, and Little League Internationals initiative to broaden the opportunity for children to participate in the Little League Baseball World Series, a second Little League Baseball® World Series stadium, Little League Volunteer Stadium, was opened in 2001; and the tournament field was doubled from eight to 16 teams. Currently, eight teams represent regions in the United States, and eight are from international regions.
There are now nine Little League World Series tournaments played every year.
Each of Little Leagues nine World Series events operates under different tournament formats, with varying numbers of teams from regions around the world participating. Throughout the summer months, hundreds of thousands of games are played to determine nine world champions, making the Little League International Tournament, the worlds largest elimination tournament.
In the early 1960s I remember my little town would have a parade down the street by the ballpark for the start of the L.L. season. Hot dogs were sold, pennants and flags waved it was like the whole town turned out and it was a big deal. Nice memories.
Little league is a great opportunity for parents to get together. I coached little league for several seasons. I met so many great people and enjoyed the experience. My daughter played little league softball and played softball in high school.
There is nothing like being out on a summer week night when you have to get up early the next day. Swatting mosquitoes, coaching and cheering on the kids.
Not trying to be a jerk, but what youth sports program isn’t run by volunteers? From little league to soccer to scouts.
I met 90% of my daughters’ friends on teams and their parents on the sidelines. Youth sports programs made my suburban town seem like an old time New England community.
Our son is in Little League. It really has been wonderful cheering for the children and meeting the parents. All the work is worth it if the kids grow up willing to do the same for their kids.
Yes, it doesn’t have to be Little League, but I think Little League does it pretty well. My daughter’s USYVL (volleyball) experience was also wonderful, with generous parents who loved working with the kids. It is harder to form a USYVL identity, though, because their nets are temporary, and there is no physical premises that is truly theirs, with a PA system and a snack shack and business sponsors.
When I was about 11 I hit a grand slam in a Little League game.Of course the fact that it went through the third baseman’s legs is neither here nor there! (True story).
LL is great, please do not mistake me.
In my town its lacrosse and football. The youth lacrosse program for the girls is simply a machine. They are organized, they have money, and the “community” is wonderful. In my town, the girls are literally walking around with lacrosse sticks in first grade.
The youth football program is integrated with the high school program. So, from the time you can put on pads you are working the same program. From sixth grade on you are running the same plays (pretty much.) It is amazing to watch.
Of course, the cliques and BS that come with any program are there. But it seems there is much an emphasis on “teamwork”and “contributing” so that even the kids who do not play at the higher levels remain involved.
It is unique to my experience. When I got involved when my kids were little, it was actually a little unsettling. But over the years it gives you a warm and fuzzy.
Plus, in high school the kids win. Which is nice too.
LOL Hey, a home run is a home run!
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