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Former National League MVP Dale Murphy is Keynote Speaker For Little League International Congress

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 4, 2007) – Dale Murphy, former two-time National League Most Valuable Player, will be among the guests visiting Houston, Texas, as key volunteers in the world’s largest organized youth sports program attend the 24th Little League International Congress, April 13-16.

Dale Murphy, former two-time National League Most Valuable Player, will be the keynote speaker at the opening convocation of the 24th Little League International Congress in Houston, Texas, April 13-16.

The four-day International Congress is held once every three years, with a primary purpose to amend rules and regulations. In the years leading up to each Congress, volunteers from dozens of nations submit their ideas for changes to a steering committee, and an agenda is prepared. This weekend, about 1,500 volunteers from around the globe will gather to help chart Little League’s future.

Mr. Murphy, one of the most-respected Major League Baseball sluggers of the last half of the 20th century, is a longtime supporter of the Little League program and an enshrinee in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence. He will be the keynote speaker for the opening convocation on Friday, April 13, in the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar Street.

“There are so many situations in baseball where you’re not successful, but as a kid I never felt any pressure about playing,” Mr. Murphy said. “Little League was always fun for me, and I credit my parents, my coaches and all the people who volunteered for making Little League a wonderful time in my life. My invitation to the Little League International Congress is a unique opportunity to share my experiences with the people who continue to make the program great for kids today.”

Growing up in Portland, Ore., Mr. Murphy played in the Tualatin Little League. He never reached the Little League Baseball World Series as a player, but Mr. Murphy did visit the World Series in 1986. He was on the field at Howard J. Lamade Stadium with his parents, Charles and Betty Murphy, who received the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award. In 1995, Mr. Murphy returned to Williamsport, Pa., for enshrinement in Little League’s Hall of Excellence.

Playing in 2,180 games for the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies in 18 Major League seasons, Mr. Murphy hit .265 for his career with 398 home runs and 1,266 runs batted in. He was a seven-time all-star, won five straight Gold Gloves, and posted a 30-30 season (36 home runs, 30 stolen bases) in 1983, his second consecutive MVP season.

“From his days as a Little League player in Oregon, through a successful Major League career, and now as a father and coach, Dale Murphy has continued to support the ideals and life lessons learned during his time in the Little League program,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “As a Little League graduate, with parents who volunteered their time to his local league, Mr. Murphy has a rooted appreciation for the importance of the program’s volunteer base, and respects the responsibility entrusted to the Congress. We are pleased and proud to have him address the delegation.”

Mr. Murphy lives in Alpine, Utah, with his wife, Nancy, and their eight children (seven boys).

This is the second Little League International Congress convened in Houston (the first was in 1967), and the first to be held in Little League’s Southwestern Region since the 21st Congress in San Antonio, Texas, in 1998. Approximately 500 of those attending are volunteer district administrators, with another 1,000 being assistant district administrators. These individuals serve as liaisons between the local leagues and Little League International. District administrators are elected by their constituent leagues to provide support, and to represent their interests as delegates to the International Congress. Assistants are appointed by the district administrators. Only the delegates and their assistant district administrators are permitted to attend the Congress.

The delegates meet in round table discussions, making any necessary changes in the proposed amendments, then vote on the changes on the final day of the Congress. A two-thirds vote is required for passage. Those amendments receiving the necessary vote are then presented to the International Board of Directors (for rules and regulations) or the International Tournament Committee (for tournament rules and guidelines) for final approval.

Delegates and their assistants also will attend training seminars and informational assemblies at the Congress, which ends on Monday, April 16. Little League pays most of the delegates’ travel, meal and lodging costs for the Congress. In Houston, all events will be held at the Hilton Americas.

“This democratic process has been in place since 1956, and provides an excellent opportunity for us to meet with, and listen to, the program’s volunteers who are so critical to Little League,” Mr. Keener said. “Volunteer district administrators and their assistants gather to voice the opinions of their home leagues, which in turn gives the broadest perspective on how Little League can best serve its leagues in the coming years. Everyone is looking forward to Congress, and we know the volunteers from Houston and throughout Texas are anxious to show their hospitality.”

On Sunday, April 15, the District Administrator Recognition Luncheon will acknowledge several volunteer district administrators from around the world for their honored years of service. Also, a three-year video retrospective will be shown, spanning Little League’s accomplishments since the 2004 Congress concluded in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Chairman’s Luncheon on Monday, April 16, is the final formal gathering of the triennial Congress. George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, and former First Lady Barbara Bush, will attend as the Congress honors Little League’s “First Family.” ESPN personality Karl Ravech will be master of ceremonies for the event in the Hilton Americas Grand Ballroom.

The Congress Chairman is Hugh Tanner, a long-time Little League coach, manager and board member in Houston’s West University Little League. The co-chairman is Charlie Fox, District Administrator for Texas District 16, the host district for the International Congress.