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President Bush Invites Little Leaguers to Play Tee Ball Games on White House South Lawn

President Bush as a Little 
Leaguer in the Spring of 1954.
Photo courtesy George Bush Presidential Library

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 3, 2001) - President George W. Bush is inviting some Little League Tee Ball players to have a ball in his back yard. 

Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer announced on March 29, 2001, that the White House will work with Little League Baseball International Headquarters to invite teams to play on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. The announcement came before a gathering of dozens of members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in a ceremony attended by Little League Baseball President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen D. Keener. 

"Of course, Little League is honored that President Bush is working with us to make these events possible," Mr. Keener said. "We are delighted to help out in any way." 

Details on the Tee Ball games, such as the dates and teams, have not been finalized. President Bush told reporters that the first game would be in April or May. 

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. 

Little League Baseball is the world's largest youth sports organization, with approximately 2.9 million players in all 50 states and 103 other countries. Approximately 35 million people have played or volunteered for Little League Baseball. 

Little League's biggest annual event is the Little League Baseball World Series, held every August in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Crowds of 40,000 or more are usually on hand for the championship game, which has been televised every year on ABC since 1963. This year's Little League Baseball World Series will be played August 17-26. 

No sitting president has ever attended the Little League Baseball World Series. President Bush's father, George Bush, attended the series in 1980 while he was a candidate for vice president, and Vice President Dan Quayle was a guest at the series in 1992. Then-Senator Lyndon Johnson visited Little League International Headquarters in 1960 before he was elected Vice President.

 "We would be honored if President Bush were to visit us," Mr. Keener said. "I'm sure when he played Little League Baseball in Midland, he had the same dreams of making it to Williamsport someday that millions of children have had. We would be happy to help fulfill that dream." 

Little League Baseball has not determined the method for selecting the teams for the White House Tee Ball games at this time. More information will be posted soon at www.littleleague.org.

For more information contact: 
Lance Van Auken, Director of Media Relations and Communications
Little League Baseball International Headquarters 
(570) 326-1921 
Media E-mail: media@littleleague.org
WEB Site: http://www.littleleague.org