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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2002 > West Virginia Little League Tee Ball Team  Has A Ball On White House South Lawn

West Virginia Little League Tee Ball Team  Has A Ball On White House South Lawn

WASHINGTON (June 23, 2002) – Twelve Tee Ball players from South Berkeley Little League of Inwood, W.Va., received the thrill of a lifetime when they played in the fifth in a series of Tee Ball on the South Lawn games at the White House today.

The South Berkeley Little League Braves squared off for a friendly game in the president’s back yard against a team from Washington, D.C. 

Because no score was kept, there was no winner or loser.
Three games in the Tee Ball on the South Lawn program were played in 2001, and two games have been played so far this year. Little League Tee Ball teams from Trenton, N.J., and Long Island, N.Y., played on May 5.

Click here to read an excerpt from White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer’s announcement about this game.

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

Click here to see photos from this "Tee Ball on the South Lawn" game.

Click here to learn how Tee Ball teams are selected.
Click here to go to the White House web site and see a video of the game.
Click here to go to the White House Kids Page and read about baseball and the presidency.
Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer announced last year that the White House is working with Little League Baseball International to invite teams to play Tee Ball games on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. Little League Baseball is the world’s largest youth sports organization, with 2.8 million players in all 50 U.S. states and 103 other countries.

Since it was founded in 1939, about 35 million people have played or volunteered for Little League, which offers baseball and softball programs for children ages 5-18. Tee Ball, for players 5-8 years old, utilizes a batting tee instead of pitching. Scores are not kept, with the emphasis placed on instruction and having fun.

President Bush played Little League Baseball in Midland, Texas, in the 1950s. His team was the Cubs, and he was known as a good defensive player. He is also the first Little League graduate to be elected president, and became the first sitting president to visit the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the world championship game on Aug. 26 last year.

 “I equate Little League Baseball with good families,” the president said during his remarks at the Little League Baseball World Series before a crowd of more than 40,000. “I want to thank all the coaches for working with the kids. You’re not only teaching the kids how to throw and hit, you’re teaching them incredibly important values: the values of good clean competition; the values of teamwork; the values of working with somebody to win for something greater than yourself.”

Several companies have supported Little League Baseball in this project, so that all the equipment necessary (except gloves, which are those belonging to the players) is available, including fencing, bases, bats, baseballs, catcher’s equipment, player benches and the batting tee. Little League also provides numbered shirts for each player and a baseball cap, both of which the players keep as souvenirs. The companies providing support to Little League are: CNA Insurance, Snickers Brand, New Era Cap Company, Wilson Sporting Goods, Russell Athletic, SportFence, Easton, Larson Design Group and TurnKey Construction.

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, Washington Mayor Anthony Williams and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, were base coaches. Guests also included White House counselor Karen Hughes and Cal Ripken, Jr.

The Tee Ball players, managers and coaches also received a baseball bearing the Presidential Seal and signature of President Bush -- his personal gift for their participation. The event included a tour of the White House, and a picnic on the South Lawn following the game.

More Tee Ball on the South Lawn games are being planned for this year, but specific dates and teams have not been determined. Leagues can express their desire to be considered for selection to send a team to the White House by visiting Little League’s official web site at: http://www.littleleague.org.

President Bush used the weekend activities, including a three-mile run at Fort McNair, to promote physical fitness.

"It's fitting that we end (the campaign) by playing Little League ball," President Bush said in his pre-game remarks. "I want parents to encourage their children to exercise — and while the children are exercising, you might want to exercise yourself.