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Little League Baseball World Series Fun Facts

Who pays for the teams to travel to the Little League Baseball World Series?
There is no fee of any kind for any team in the Little League Baseball World Series. Neither the parents nor the local league are asked to pay anything for the team’s expenses.

All of the expenses for all teams, including travel, are paid by Little League International. While here, the teams are housed in dormitories on our complex, and food is provided at no charge. All teams are provided with exactly the same accommodations, without regard to their economic status.

Additionally, every league with a team that wins its district level championship and advances to the next level, receives a reimbursement from Little League Baseball of $1 per mile for one round trip to each tournament site, to help offset travel expenses. (Usually a district comprises a town, county, or several towns or counties.)

Little League is able to pay this because every league pays a one-time entry fee of $75 for each team entered in the International Tournament. This fund is restricted only to offsetting tournament expenses. More than $1 million will be paid back to local Little League programs in 2007. This fund is also used to transport the Little League Baseball World Series teams to and from Williamsport, and other baseball and softball World Series sites.

How did the World Series get started?
The first Little League Baseball World Series was played in 1947 at Original Field at Memorial Park, Williamsport. The Little League program itself was founded by Carl E. Stotz, an oil company clerk, in 1939 in Williamsport.

In the first Little League Baseball World Series, all the teams except one were from Pennsylvania. At the time, Little League only existed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A Williamsport-area team (Maynard Midgets) won the first Series. Within a few years, word spread about Carl Stotz’s program, and Little League was being played in all 48 states. The first Little Leagues outside the 48 states were in Panama, Canada, and Hawaii, in 1950.

Little League Baseball has always been integrated by race. Major League Baseball did not become integrated (in its modern era) until 1947.

Girls were first allowed by rule to play Little League Baseball in 1974 (although the first girl to actually play Little League did so in 1950 in Corning, N.Y. – Kathryn “Tubby” Johnston).

To date, 12 girls have played in the Little League World Series. The first, Victoria Roche, was in 1984. She played for the team that represented Brussels (Belgium) Little League.

One woman has coached a team in the Little League World Series: Kathy Barnard, Lynn Valley Little League, North Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1993. Betty Speziale of Dunkirk, N.Y., was the first woman to umpire in the Little League World Series, in 1989. In 2002, Flora Stansberry of Seneca, Mo., became the first woman to umpire behind the plate in the Little League Baseball World Series Championship Game.

United States teams have won the most Little League Baseball World Series championships, with 28, the most recent being in 2006 (Columbus Northern Little League of Columbus, Ga.). Taiwan is next, with 17, the most recent in 1996 (Fu-Hsing Little League of Kao-Hsuing, Taiwan).

Teams from 23 countries/territories and 38 U.S. states have advanced to the Little League Baseball World Series in its 59-year history. Countries that have won the Little League Baseball World Series are Curacao, South Korea, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.

In the Little League Baseball International Tournament, approximately 16,000 games are played in dozens of countries in 45 days, culminating in the 16-team Little League Baseball World Series each August. There are more games played in this 45-day tournament than in SIX FULL SEASONS of Major League Baseball.

What’s the background on the stadiums?
The games of the Little League Baseball World Series are played in two stadiums at the Little League International Complex in the borough of South Williamsport, Pa. (The Series moved from Memorial Park in Williamsport in 1959.)

Little League Volunteer Stadium (opened in 2001), which can accommodate about 5,000 fans, is used for some of the early-round games. Its name honors the millions of men and women who have donated their time selflessly to children in the 66-year history of Little League.

Howard J. Lamade Stadium (history below) seats about 9,000 in the stadium-proper, with room for another 30,000 to 35,000 on the terraced hills beyond the outfield fence. Lamade Stadium is used for some early-round games and is used exclusively for the second-half of the Series (once single-elimination begins) because of its large capacity.

Lamade Stadium was originally built in 1959, completely re-built in 1968, expanded in 1971, and updated in 2001 to better accommodate disabled persons and to include offices under the seating areas. In 2006, the roof was extended to the ends of the stadium, and additional seats with backs were added.

Lamade Stadium is named for a longtime Little League supporter and member of the Little League Board of Directors during the 1950s. In 2006, the stadium was re-dedicated in Mr. Lamade’s name, with many of his family members in attendance. This coincided with additional seats with backs, and the roof was extended – thanks to the generosity of the Lamade family.

Mr. Lamade was vice president of the Grit Publishing Company, which donated the funds to purchase the land for Little League International and the stadium. The stadiums and surrounding Little League International Complex are built into the north side of Bald Eagle Mountain, which is part of the Nittany Mountains.

Refreshments and a variety of foods are available at the concession stand. Because Little League want to project this event as a family event, the prices are kept very low.

A family of four can attend the Little League Baseball World Series (with no charge for parking or admission – see below), and each person in the family can have a hot dog, French fries and soda -- for less than $20.

There is never any admission charged to attend a Little League game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium or Little League Volunteer Stadium. Tickets for the championship game are given away by lottery well in advance of the World Series. Seating in all areas is general. No tickets are required at any time for the terraces beyond the outfield fence at Lamade Stadium, offering excellent viewing from any vantage point.

The highest estimated attendance for a Little League World Series game was in 1989, when Shippensburg, Pa., lost to Taiwan, in the final game before about 45,000 people. Exact figures are not available, since tickets are not required for most fans and there are no turnstiles. No fans have ever been turned away because of a lack of seating.

Attendance, 2006 Little League Baseball World Series, 31 games: 315,798
Paid attendance, 2006 Little League Baseball World Series, 31 games: 0

Where do the teams live during the Series?
All 16 teams in the Little League Baseball World Series are housed in the Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove, which is part of the Little League Baseball and Softball International Complex.

The International Grove has air-conditioned dormitories (with a television and video player) for all teams, plus managers and coaches, with a dining facility that services all teams, a recreation hall with video games, televisions and ping-pong, and a junior-Olympic size swimming pool. It is off-limits to the general public, and is the players’ place to recreate, have fun, and get to know the other players from around the world.

“The Grove” as it is called, is named for the former president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball.