President Bush Meets With Little League Baseball/Softball World Series Champs
WILLIAMSPORT, PA. (Sept. 12, 2006) – Meeting with the
President has been a tradition for Little League World Series
champions, dating back to the administration of Dwight D.
Eisenhower, whose son, David, played Little League in Gettysburg,
This year is no different, except that the President himself is a Little League graduate.
President George W. Bush met with the managers, coaches and players from two World Series championship teams recently, congratulating them on their efforts. On both occasions, the teams posed with the President for photos and the President signed autographs in front of Air Force One.
On Sept. 7, the President met the members of the Columbus Northern Little League, which won the 2006 Little League Baseball World Series Championship, at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga. The championship game was played on Aug. 28 in Williamsport, and was televised live nationally on ESPN2. Columbus Northern defeated a team from Kawaguchi, Japan, 2-1, for the title.
A day later, the President was greeted by members of the Mattawan Little League team from Mattawan, Mich., at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Mich. The team won all 23 games it played this summer and went on to take the 2006 Little League Softball World Series Championship in Portland, Ore., defeating a team Pequannock, N.J., 6-2. The championship game, played on Aug. 16, was televised live nationally on ESPN2.
President Bush gave some advice to the Georgia team, according to a report from Columbus television station WTVM, which had a crew in Williamsport for the World Series: "He just told us that we were winners, that we could be winners in life too. It didn't have to just be baseball, it could be whatever we wanted it to be," (manager) Randy Morris told News Leader 9. (Full story here:
For the Michigan team, manager Mark Lochart summed it all up in a quote that appeared in the Kalamazoo Gazette the day after meeting President Bush: ``We just wanted to win a few softball games,'' said Lochart, looking at Allie, his daughter and second baseman. ``And now my little girl has met the president.'' (Full story here:
President Bush is the first Little League graduate to attain the highest office in the United States. He played Little League Baseball in Midland, Texas, for several years in the 1950s, and has remarked several times that his Little League memories are among the fondest of his childhood. During his remarks at the 2001 Little League Baseball World Series, at which President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch, he said: “I equate Little League Baseball with good families.”
Little League Baseball is the world's largest organized youth sports program. With nearly 2.7 million Little Leaguers and more than a million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and dozens other countries, no other youth sports organization comes close.
Besides meeting with World Series champions, other U.S. Presidents have honored Little League in other ways.
• Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both proclaimed National Little League Week as the week in which Flag Day occurs in June each year.
• President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation giving Little League its federal charter.
• President Ronald Reagan invited Little Leaguers to a celebration on the South Lawn of the White House in 1984.
• President George H.W. Bush commemorated Little League's 50th Anniversary at the White House in 1989, and personally delivered Poland’s first Little League charter to that country later that year.
• And President Bush has chosen Little League International to administer the Tee Ball on the South Lawn games – the President's initiative to increase the awareness of baseball, particularly among families with young children. (More information on Tee Ball on the South Lawn can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/media/teeballselection.asp)