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Little League Mourns the Passing of President Reagan

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (June 5, 2004) -- Along with America, Little League mourns the passing of Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States.

President Reagan was a great baseball fan, often meeting with Little League Baseball World Series participants while he was in office both as president, as the governor of California, and after he left public office.

At the start of President Reagan's eight years in the Oval Office, not a single Little Leaguer was playing in the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Bloc. Because of the demise of Communism brought about during President Reagan's tenure, local Little League programs have sprung up in the countries of Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

“Tens of thousands of children in those countries have played Little League and enjoyed its benefits in the past 15 years, with millions more in generations to come,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “More importantly, however, hundreds of millions of people now enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty, thanks in large part to the leadership of President Reagan. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family and all who knew him.”

In this photo, former President Ronald Reagan welcomes the 1994 Northridge (Calif.) Little League tournament team to his office. The team was the U.S. champion that year."