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South Berkeley Little League Tee Ball Team Invited To Play On South Lawn Of White House

Game is set for June 23 

The South Berkeley Little League Braves gathered for a news conference in Martinsburg, W.Va., on June 12, when their upcoming visit to the White House was announced. (click on the photo above to see a larger version.)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (June 13, 2002) – A Tee Ball team from South Berkeley Little League of Inwood, W.Va., has been invited by President George W. Bush to take part in his initiative to boost interest in baseball, it was announced today in a news conference.

The South Berkeley Little League Braves will square off for a friendly game in the president’s back yard against a team from Washington, D.C., June 23, at a time to be announced. Three games in the Tee Ball on the South Lawn program were played in 2001, and one game has been played so far this year. Little League Tee Ball teams from Trenton, N.J., and Long Island, N.Y., played on May 5. 

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The Little League Tee Ball teams receive a guided tour of the White House. Here, a team visits the State Dining Room under a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. (May 6, 2001)

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A Little League Tee Ball player gets ready to swing while Little League’s mascot, Dugout, watches in the background. (May 6, 2001)

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President Bush addresses the teams and the crowd at the first Little League Tee Ball on the South Lawn game. (May 6, 2001)

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.

The Tee Ball players, managers and coaches also receive a baseball bearing the Presidential Seal and signature of President Bush -- his personal gift for their participation. The event includes 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.

  • Click here to learn how Tee Ball teams are selected.
  • Click here to see photos from the May 2002 "Tee Ball on the South Lawn" game.
  • Click here to see President George W. Bush's 1955 Little League Team Roster.
  • Click here to read an excerpt from White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer’s announcement about this game.