Little League Champs Meet With President in Oval Office
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 7, 2007) – Meeting with
the President has been a tradition for Little League Baseball World
Series champions, dating back to the administration of Dwight D.
Eisenhower, whose son, David, played Little League in Gettysburg, Pa.
|President George W. Bush stands with members of the 2007
Little League World Series Championship team of Warner Robins,
Ga., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007, in the Oval Office. White House photo
by Eric Draper
This year is no different, as President George W. Bush met with the
manager, coach and players from the champions of the 2007 Little
League Baseball World Series from Warner Robins (Ga.) American Little
League recently in the Oval Office of the White House.
The President congratulated the Georgia players on their efforts, and
he stressed the importance of making the right decisions in life. The
team gathered around the President’s desk (made from the timbers of
the British warship HMS Resolute), and chatted for 15 minutes on
subjects ranging from the team’s experiences in Williamsport, to the
meaning of the Presidential Seal, to his own experiences as a Little
Leaguer and his visit to the Little League Baseball World Series final
game in 2001. The team then took a two-hour guided tour of the
Each player also received a baseball bearing the Presidential Seal and
the President’s autograph.
Attending the event was Stephen D. Keener, president and chief
executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball.
“Little League is fortunate to have such a good friend in the White
House,” Mr. Keener said. “As a former Little Leaguer, President Bush
recognizes the great benefits that come from good clean competition in
a safe atmosphere. We are honored that he has continued the long
tradition of recognizing the Little League World Series champions.”
The team also met with Georgia’s U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and
Saxby Chambliss, and U.S. Representatives Jim Marshall, John Barrow,
and Paul Broun. They also were treated to a tour of the Capitol.
Last year, the President met the members of the Columbus Northern
Little League, which won the 2006 Little League Baseball World Series
Championship, at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga. A day
later, the President was greeted by members of the Mattawan Little
League Softball team from Mattawan, Mich., at Bishop International
Airport in Flint, Mich.
President Bush is the first Little League graduate to attain the
highest office in the United States. He played Little League Baseball
in Midland, Texas, for several years in the 1950s, and has remarked
several times that his Little League memories are among the fondest of
During his remarks at the 2001 Little League Baseball World Series, at
which President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch and was
enshrined in the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence, he said: “I
equate Little League Baseball with good families.”
Little League Baseball is the world's largest organized youth sports
program. With nearly 2.7 million Little Leaguers and more than a
million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and dozens other
countries, no other youth sports organization comes close.
Besides meeting with Little League Baseball and Softball World Series
champions, other U.S. Presidents have honored Little League in other
• Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both proclaimed
National Little League Week as the week in which Flag Day occurs in
June each year.
• President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation giving Little
League its federal charter.
• President Ronald Reagan invited Little Leaguers to a celebration on
the South Lawn of the White House in 1984.
• President George H.W. Bush commemorated Little League's 50th
Anniversary at the White House in 1989, and personally delivered
Poland’s first Little League charter to that country later that year.
Each year, Little League International administers the Tee Ball on the
South Lawn program – the President's initiative to increase the
awareness of baseball and softball, particularly among families with
(More information on Tee Ball on the South Lawn can be
|The Warner Robins Little League team poses for a team photo in
the East Room, near Gilbert Stuart's 1796 painting of George
Washington. The painting was rescued nearly 200 years ago by First
Lady Dolley Madison when she refused to abandon the portrait as
she fled from the British in 1814. She wrote to her sister on the
day of the fire: "Our kind friend, Mr. Carroll, has come to hasten
my departure, and is in a very bad humor with me because I insist
on waiting until the large picture of Gen. Washington is secured,
and it requires to be unscrewed from the wall. This process was
found to be too tedious for these perilous moments; I have ordered
the frame to be broken, and the canvas taken out; it is done--and
the precious portrait placed in the hands of two gentlemen of New
York, for safe keeping." Her efforts were successful, and the
portrait was returned to the White House when the rebuilding was
|Two Warner Robins Little League players admire the furnishings
in the White House’s Red Room. Originally known as the “Washington
Parlor,” the room assumed its current name during the
administration of President James Polk, when he and Mrs. Polk
furnished the room with a dark crimson French Antique style suite
and a ruby carpet in 1845.
|A Warner Robins Little League player takes a photo of George
P. A. Healy’s 1869 portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, donated
to the White House in 1939, above the mantel. In the final year of
World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered President
John Adams’s famous blessing carved on the stone fireplace of the
State Dining Room where it can be seen today. On November 2, 1800,
President Adams wrote to his wife: "I pray Heaven to bestow the
best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter
inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this
|Warner Robins Little League team manager Mickey Lay and his
son, Taylor Lay, pose for a photo under Aaron Shikler’s portrait
of President John F. Kennedy.
|The Warner Robins Little League team makes its way out of the
White House after the two-hour tour.