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President Bush To Attend Little League Baseball World Series

Williamsport, Pa. (Aug. 6, 2001) – George W. Bush, the first Little League graduate to be elected President of the United States, will be on hand for the championship game of the Little League Baseball World Series on Aug. 26 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, it was announced today by a White House spokesman. President Bush will be the first sitting president to attend the Little League Baseball World Series in its 55-year history. 

“Little League is honored and privileged that President Bush will be taking part in the world’s greatest youth sports event,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball, said. “I am sure, like millions of children, President Bush dreamed of making it to Williamsport someday. I know he will have a wonderful time here.”

Mr. Keener announced that President Bush will also be enshrined into the Hall of Excellence of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum. Last year, Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Costner, NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter, and renowned transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Stratta were enshrined.

“Enshrinement in the Hall of Excellence signifies that a former Little Leaguer has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen profession and exemplify the values learned as children in Little League Baseball,” Mr. Keener said. “President Bush obviously fits that description.”

President Bush’s love for baseball has become even more evident with the Tee Ball on the South Lawn program. The President and First Lady have invited six Little League teams to the White House over the last few months for games and picnics.

“We have been delighted with the gracious hospitality shown by President and Mrs. Bush at the Tee Ball on the South Lawn games,” Mr. Keener said. “He is very interested in seeing more children participate in baseball, and we’re glad to help out. We’re looking forward to showing him the same kind of hospitality here in Williamsport.”

As a boy, President Bush played in the Midland (Texas) Central Little League for several years during the 1950s. His mother and father, George and Barbara Bush, were volunteers in the league at the time. In interviews, President Bush has cited Little League as providing his fondest childhood memory. 

Frank Ittner, who was President Bush’s coach on the Cubs at Midland Central Little League from 1955 until 1958, spoke about young George W. Bush in a recent interview with Little League Baseball: “He was a good catcher, and you could always rely on him to be there for every game and every practice. He was very dependable.”

Six teams have been determined for the Little League Baseball World Series: Guam Little League, Hagatna, Guam; Kitasuna Little League of Tokyo, Japan; Club Activo 20-30 Little League of Santiago de Veraguas, Panama; Pariba Little League of Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles; Matamoros (Mexico) Little League: and Arabian-American Little League of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The other ten teams, eight of which will be from the United States, one from Canada, and one from Europe, will be determined next week.

The Little League Baseball World Series for 11-12-year-olds will be played Aug. 17-26. Sixteen teams from around the world will take part as the series expands from its traditional eight-team field.

Two games will be televised on ABC rather than the single championship game as has been the case since 1963. The championship game of the Little League Baseball World Series can be seen live on ABC-TV at 6:30 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 26 – the first prime-time telecast of the Series final. ABC will also televise the U.S. Championship Game on Saturday, August 25, at 4:30 p.m. The total televised World Series games will be 19, compared to 11 last year. In addition, ESPN2 will carry all eight of the U.S. Regional Championship finals in the Little League Baseball Division. The regional finals have been televised by ESPN2 every year since 1997.

Little League Baseball is the largest organized youth sports program in the world, with nearly 3 million participants in all 50 states and 104 other countries. Little League is the only sports organization holding a federal charter of incorporation.
Here is a list of all enshrinees of the Hall of Excellence of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, with year of enshrinement in parentheses.

  • KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR (1992), member of the NBA Hall of Fame, played Little League Baseball in the Inwood Little League in New York City.

  • DAVE BARRY (1998), Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist/author, played in the Armonk (N.Y.) Little League.

  • DON BEAVER (1999), North Carolina businessman and owner of several sports franchises, played in the 1952 Little League World Series for Mooresville, N.C.

  • BILL BRADLEY (1989), of New Jersey, former Senator, Rhodes Scholar and member of the NBA’s Hall of Fame, was a Little Leaguer in Crystal City, Mo.

  • LEONARD S. COLEMAN (1996), President of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, played Little League in Montclair, N.J.

  • KEVIN COSTNER (2000), a graduate of Saticoy Little League in Ventura, Calif., went on to receive two Academy Awards, and is one of the most highly respected figures in the motion picture industry. 

  • TONY DUNGY (1998), head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and one of the most respected gentlemen in pro football, played in the Southeast Little League of Jackson, Minn.

  • DR. VINCENT FORTANASCE (1994) Board Certified Psychiatrist and Neurologist as well as clinical professor at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, is a graduate of the Elmont Little League of Queens, N.Y.

  • BILLY HUNTER (2000), a player on the Delaware Township (N.J.) Little League team that advanced to the 1955 Little League Baseball World Series, went on to star in football at Syracuse University, the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. He is executive director of the NBA Players Association. 

  • HALE IRWIN (1993), scholar/athlete at the University of Colorado, one of the most successful members of the PGA; graduate of the Baxter Springs, Kan., Little League.

  • DALE MURPHY (1995), a graduate of the Tulatin Little League, Portland, Ore., is one of the finest, most-respected Major League players of the last half of the 20th century.

  • DR. STORY MUSGRAVE (1994), a NASA astronaut who has flown more than 17,000 hours, is a Boston area Little League graduate.

  • DAN O’BRIEN (1997), an Olympic decathlon gold-medalist, former world-record holder and champion of adoption-related causes, played Little League in South Suburban Little League in Klamath Fall, Ore.

  • JIM PALMER (1994), three-time Cy Young Award winning Major League pitcher, Baseball Hall of Famer, analyst for ABC Sports, is a graduate of the Beverly Hills, Calif., Little League.

  • MICHAEL PLADUS (1999), National Principal of the Year (Interboro High School, Prospect Park, Pa., 1999), graduated from the Shenandoah North (Pa.) Little League. 

  • DAN QUAYLE (1990), former U.S. Senator and Vice President of the United States, played baseball in the Hoosier Little League of Huntington, Ind., during the mid-1950s.

  • CAL RIPKEN, JR. (1996), baseball’s all-time ironman, played Little League Baseball at West Asheville (N.C.) Little League.

  • NOLAN RYAN (1991), Major League Baseball’s all-time strike out record holder and Baseball Hall of Famer is a graduate of the Alvin Little League in Alvin, Texas.

  • MIKE SCHMIDT (1991), Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman, is a graduate of North Riverdale Little League in Dayton, Ohio.

  • TOM SEAVER (1988), Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, is a graduate of the Spartan Little League of Fresno, Calif.

  • TOM SELLECK (1991), accomplished actor and entertainer, played in the Sherman Oaks Little League in California.

  • BRIAN SIPE (1999), former quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, played in the Northern Little League, El Cajon, Calif., and in the 1961 Little League World Series.

  • DR. ROBERT SLOAN (1996), President of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, played at Western Little League in Abilene, Texas.

  • BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (1997), award-winning singer/songwriter and social activist, played Little League in Freehold, N.J.

  • DR. ROBERT STRATTA (2000), who pitched a no-hitter in the 1967 Little League Baseball World Series for North Roseland Little League of Chicago, is professor of surgery at the University of Tennessee – Memphis. 

  • GEORGE WILL (1992), journalist, political analyst and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, played Little League in Champaign, Ill.