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Little League Tee Ball Team from Kalamazoo to Play on White House South Lawn

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Aug. 11, 2003) – For all of the 16 teams that have played a Tee Ball game at the White House in Washington, D.C., over the past three summers, the trip has taken only one day. After all, the most remote of the teams came from Long Island, N.Y., a mere five-hour drive.

Next month, for the first time since President George W. Bush’s initiative to boost interest in baseball among children and parents began in 2001, a team from Michigan will make the trip for a game at the chief executive’s residence. A team of 5-8-year-olds from Milwood Little League in Kalamazoo will square off for a friendly game against a team from Trenton, N.J., on Sept. 7.

Click here to see President George W. Bush's 1955 Little League Team Roster.

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The choice of Kalamazoo is in line with the theme for the game, where the 60th anniversary of the founding of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League will be observed. The league formed during World War II as a result of the disbanding of many minor league baseball teams, but folded after the 1954 season in which the Kalamazoo Lassies won the championship. The Lassies played in the AAGPBL from 1951 to ’54.

Kalamazoo is the site of Little League’s annual Girls Big League Softball World Series for 16-18-year-old girls. That tournament began today, and the announcement was made at the fields where the games are played.

Little League Baseball International is providing lodging for the Milwood Little League for two nights in the dormitories of Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove in Williamsport – the same dormitories that house the teams of the annual Little League Baseball World Series. The Milwood Little League team and guests, about 90 people, will travel by bus to Williamsport on Sept. 6, then will travel to the White House on Sept. 7 and return to Williamsport that night. They head back to Michigan on Sept. 8.

In keeping with the tradition of Tee Ball on the South Lawn games, no score will be kept between the two teams. Every player on both teams will play on defense and bat once in the one-inning game, to be followed by a picnic on the South Lawn for players and families. A baseball autographed by President George W. Bush will be presented – by the president himself – to each player, manager, and coach.
The game is the ninth at the White House since May 6, 2001, when President Bush began the initiative. It will be the third game of 2003. The time of the game will be announced later this month.

President Bush, the first former Little Leaguer to be elected to the nation’s highest office, played Little League Baseball at Central Little League in Midland, Texas, in the mid-1950s. On Aug. 26, 2001, he was enshrined in the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence during a ceremony at the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Little League Baseball the world’s largest youth sports organization, with more than 2.7 million children participating in every U.S. state and 104 other countries on six continents. Little League is the only youth sports organization to be chartered by the U.S. Congress.