Chinese Taipei Rejoins Little League
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 23, 2003) Chinese Taipei will renew its long relationship with Little League Baseball in the 2003 season, as the Charter Committee of Little League has accepted charter applications from 15 leagues for regular season play for more than 40 teams of 9-12-year-olds nationwide.
In April 1997, the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association decided that its youth baseball programs would no longer affiliate with Little League. But Little League left the door open to future affiliation if circumstances warranted it.
“The leagues in Chinese Taipei were unable at that time to adhere to certain Little League rules and regulations regarding residency, and the area from which a single chartered league could draw its players,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball. “Those issues have been resolved for 15 of the leagues in Chinese Taipei, and we welcome them back into the program. Chinese Taipei has a rich history with Little League, and we are delighted that children in Chinese Taipei will once again benefit from the Little League program.”
In a letter to Little League in 1997, a CTBA official said his organization could not comply with the regulation limiting the number of players in each school district in the formation of a league. At the time, there were 35 chartered local Little Leagues in Chinese Taipei, with ages ranging from nine to 18, all in the baseball division.
Eleven of the new Chinese Taipei local Little League programs will each have the opportunity to field a tournament team in the Little League Baseball Division for 11-12-year-olds. The other two leagues will field two tournament teams each. The new programs are scattered throughout the island, but most are in smaller population centers.
The tournament teams would play off to determine district champions within Chinese Taipei, and those winners will play for a national championship. That team earns a berth in the Asia Regional Tournament against other national champions including Japan and South Korea. The winner of the Asia Regional Tournament advances to the annual Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Chinese Taipei won 17 Little League Baseball World Series titles from 1969 though 1996. Teams from Chinese Taipei also won 17 world titles in the Senior League Baseball division of Little League from 1972 to 1992 and 17 championships in Big League Baseball from 1974 to 1996.
Little League Baseball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with more than 2.7 million players and 1 million volunteers in all 50 U.S. states and 104 other countries.
Note 1: Most leagues in the U.S. use geographical boundaries to determine the size of the local chartered Little League program. In Chinese Taipei, however, the local school district is used as the league boundary, which is an option available to all leagues worldwide. According to Little League regulations regarding this option, for every 1,000 children from kindergarten age to seventh grade, the school must have one separate league. A tournament team is drawn from each individual local league, and that team then has the opportunity to advance through tournament play by winning district, national, regional, and World Series tournaments.
Note 2: Little League Baseball uses the designation “Chinese Taipei” in releases and publications to refer to its programs in that nation, rather than “Taiwan,” as is the custom for the International Baseball Federation.