Little League® Baseball and Softball is the first organized youth sports program in the world, and was founded in 1939 by Carl E. Stotz, a resident of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. During the spring of 1939, a total of 30 players formed three teams, and Mr. Stotz along with a collection of volunteers from his neighborhood, embarked on the first season of Little League Baseball®. Today, millions of children — ages 4 to 16 — on six continents and scores of countries can attest that baseball, softball and Little League are synonymous.
Mr. Stotz was an avid fan of professional baseball, and along with his admiration for the skill and character of the players of the era, he recognized the intrinsic life lessons that can be gleaned from a sport that relies on individual accomplishment as a primary component of achieving team success. Baseball and softball embody the discipline of teamwork. They challenge players toward perfection of physical skills and bring into play the excitement of tactics and strategy. The very nature of the sports teach that while every player eventually strikes out or is on the losing team, there is always another chance for success in the next at-bat or game.
The Little League Organization
Little League International
Little League has three structural components, each dependent upon the other, and each vital to the success of the program. The administrative and service core of the movement is Little League Baseball®, Incorporated, a non-profit membership organization that maintains the international program, with Little League International based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
For a community or neighborhood to be a member of Little League, it must declare its intention to join the program by completing the annual charter process. The operation of the program, and its chartered leagues, is governed by the Charter Committee based at Little League International. The District Administrator does not have the authority to suspend, limit or revoke any rules, regulations or privileges of local Little League charter, but may recommend such action to the Charter Committee.
Part of the Little League International structure includes various Region Centers in the U.S. and throughout the world. The United States is divided into five regions (Eastern, Central, Southeastern, Southwestern, and Western). Internationally, four region centers — Canada, Europe and Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, and Asia Pacific — oversee operation of the program in various countries.
Local leagues within an area collectively comprise a District (a geographical area usually encompassing 10-20 leagues). The operation of each district is overseen by a volunteer District Administrator (D.A.) who is a elected by the sitting presidents of local leagues to serve a four-year term. The D.A. and his/her staff of Assistant District Administrators serve as liaisons between the various Regional Centers and the local Little Leagues. They are typically the most experienced Little League volunteers in the area and are charged with helping to ensure that all the volunteers in their districts are well trained, and all the leagues are operating within the guidelines set forth by Little League.
The final, most important component is the local Little League. The league provides its services in the community. It furnishes physical facilities, volunteer services, and resources to provide a program for children, families, and communities to enjoy the sports of baseball and softball in a way that is engaging, exciting, and fun.
Through effective leadership, enthusiasm, and commitment, together with training extensions and adherence to rule and policy at the District and local league levels, Little League provides inclusive, enjoyable opportunities for any child and volunteer to participate in a community-based program that is distinctive, unique, and promotes life lessons beyond the field of play.