History of Little League

Little League’s roots extend as far as baseball’s history itself – even into the 18th century.

Soldiers of the Continental Army played ball at Valley Forge during the American Revolution. U.S. citizens played more modern versions of the British games of cricket and rounders through the early 19th century, often called “town ball.” In the 1840s, New Yorker Alexander Joy Cartwright and his acquaintances played a game they called “base ball” that was very similar to the game we know today. (Stories later arose saying Abner Doubleday invented the game, but historians generally regard the stories as myths.)

On June 19, 1846, in a contest many historians consider the first scheduled baseball game, Cartwright’s New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club was defeated by the New York Baseball Club, 23-1, in four innings.

During the American Civil War, soldiers on both sides played baseball to pass the time between battles. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first openly professional baseball team. By the end of the 19th century, baseball was known as “America’s Pastime.”

As early as the 1880s, leagues were formed for pre-teen children in New York, but they were affiliated with adult “club” teams and did not flourish. Children often played “pickup” baseball in streets or sandlots instead, and with substandard equipment. Cast-off bats and balls were taped and re-taped, and catcher’s equipment in children’s sizes was almost nonexistent.

In the 1920s, the American Legion formed a baseball program for teen-age boys that exists today. American schools also started baseball programs. But there was still a void for pre-teen boys who wanted to play in organized games. Other smaller programs cropped up from time to time, but did not catch on beyond local areas.

In 1938, a man named Carl Stotz hit upon the idea for an organized baseball league for the boys in his hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Carl had no sons of his own, but he often played ball with his young nephews, Jimmy and Major Gehron, and wanted a way to provide an organized program for them.

Carl gathered several of the neighborhood children and experimented with different types of equipment and different field dimensions during that summer. The program still did not have a name, and no games were played.

 

Little League Chronology

  • 1938 - 1939

    1938

    • Williamsport, PA, resident Carl E. Stotz gathers neighborhood children during the summer and devises the first rules and field dimensions for his planned boys baseball program.

    1939

    • Little League Baseball is founded by Carl Stotz, who enlists help from others in the community. Mr. Stotz, George Bebble and Bert Bebble are the first three managers.
    • A $30 donation is sufficient to purchase uniforms for each of the first three teams, named after their sponsors: Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber, and Jumbo Pretzel.
    • The first season is played in a vacant lot near the outfield fence of Bowman Field.
  • 1940 - 1949

    1940

    • A new playing site is used near the original field.
    • A second league is formed in Williamsport, modeled on Carl Stotz’s pilot program.
    • Rosters are limited by guidelines limiting the area from which the leagues can draw players, a process that continues today.

    1941

    • The need for workers and war materiels slow the growth of Little League as the nation prepares for war. The field is taken over for war production, and the operation of “Original Little League” moves to Max M. Brown Memorial Park.

    1942

    • The “keystone” logo of Little League is created by Carl Stotz and becomes the symbol for Little League Baseball.
    • Ed Yonkin pitches the first no-hitter in Little League history, leading Lundy Lumber over Stein’s Service.

    1943

    • A home run fence is added to Original Little League Field. Until that time, all home runs were “inside-the-park.”

    1944

    • Carl Stotz receives a draft notice. However, the draft regulations are soon revised, and he remains in Williamsport.

    1945

    • Mac McCloskey builds the world’s first remote-controlled electronic scoreboard for Original Little League Field.
    • A game at Original Little League in Williamsport is suspended, Aug. 14, 1945, after it is announced at the field that World War II has ended.

    1946

    • Little League Baseball expands to 12 leagues, all in Pennsylvania.

    1947

    • The Hammonton, NJ, boasts having the first Little League outside of Pennsylvania.
    • The first Little League World Series (known then as the National Little League Tournament) is won by the Maynard Midgets of Williamsport.
    • Allen “Sonny” Yearick, who played in the first Little League game for Lycoming Dairy in 1939, is the first Little League graduate to play professional ball in the Boston Braves organization.

    1948

    • Little League grows to ninety-four leagues.
    • Lock Haven, PA, wins the second Little League World Series, defeating a team from St. Petersburg, FL.
    • U.S. Rubber (now Uniroyal) becomes the first corporate sponsor of Little League.

    1949

    • Little League expands to 307 leagues in the U.S.
    • A feature about Little League in the Saturday Evening Post spreads the Little League story to more than 14 million people.
    • Newsreels highlighting the 1948 National Tournament are seen by millions more, and Carl Stotz is deluged by requests for information on starting a program in hundreds of communities.
    • Little League moves to protect its name by incorporating, in the state of New York.
  • 1950 - 1959

    1950

    • The shortest World Series game ever, lasting exactly one hour, is played between Hagerstown, Md., and Kankakee, Ill.
    • The first leagues outside the U.S. are formed at each end of the Panama Canal.

    1951

    • The first permanent Little League outside of the United States is formed in British Columbia, Canada.
    • Little League grows to 776 programs.

    1952

    • Peter J. McGovern becomes the first full-time President of Little League Baseball.
    • Baseball immortal Connie Mack is a visitor to the World Series.
    • Little League expands to more than 1,500 programs.

    1953

    • The Little League World Series is televised for the first time. Howard Cosell handles the play-by-play for ABC radio.
    • Birmingham, AL., defeats Schenectady, NY, 1-0, in one of only two 1-0 finals in World Series history.
    • Joey Jay, who played Little League in Middletown, CT, becomes the first former Little Leaguer to reach the Major Leagues (Milwaukee Braves).

    1954

    • Boog Powell, who would later play for the Baltimore Orioles, participates for Lakeland, FL, in the World Series.
    • Ken Hubbs, who would win the 1962 National League Rookie of the Year Award with the Chicago Cubs, plays in the Little League World Series for Colton, CA.
    • Little League Baseball expands to more than 3,300 leagues.

    1955

    • Baseball great Cy Young makes his last visit to the Little League World Series before his death in September. Carl Stotz is a pallbearer at his funeral.
    • Morrisville, PA, defeats Delaware Township, N.J., 4-3, in seven innings (the first extra-inning Little League World Series championship game).
    • A player for the New Jersey team is Billy Hunter, who would go on to play football for the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, and executive director of the NBA Players Association.
    • Little League is now played in all forty-eight states.
    • Nine-year-old George W. Bush plays his first of four years at Central Little League of Midland, Texas, where he is a catcher on the Cubs. He later becomes the first Little League graduate to be elected President of the United States.

    1956

    • An out-of-court settlement of a dispute with the Little League Board of Directors ends with Carl Stotz severing ties with the organization he founded.
    • The Little League Foundation is created.
    • The first Little League World Series perfect game is pitched by Fred Shapiro of Delaware Township, NJ.
    • Little League grows to more than 4,000 leagues.
    • The first Little League Congress takes place in Chicago.

    1957

    • Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series as Angel Macias pitches the first perfect game in a championship final.

    1958

    • Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first Little League to win consecutive World Series championships.
    • Hector Torres, who would later play in the Major Leagues, plays for Monterrey.
    • Rick Wise, who would also play in the Major Leagues, plays for Portland, OR, in the World Series.

    1959

    • The modern protective helmet is developed by Dr. Creighton J. Hale, then Director of Research for Little League Baseball.
    • The World Series is played for the first time at its present site in the borough of South Williamsport.
    • Little League Baseball now has more than 5,000 leagues.
    • The second week of June is proclaimed National Little League Week by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • 1960 - 1969

    1960

    • The first European entry in the Little League World Series is Berlin, Germany.
    • The Little League Baseball International administration building is completed.
    • The World Series final is broadcast live on television – ABC’s first.
    • More than 27,400 teams participate in more than 5,500 Little Leagues.

    1961

    • Senior League Baseball is created for players thirteen to fifteen years old.
    • Brian Sipe, who would later play quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, plays for the World Series champions from El Cajon, CA.
    • More than 5,500 teams participate in Little Leagues.

    1962

    • Little League Summer Camp opens in Williamsport.
    • Jackie Robinson is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and is a guest at the Little League World Series.
    • National Little League Week is proclaimed by President John F. Kennedy.

    1963

    • ABC and its Wide World of Sports program televises the Little League World Series championship game for the first time, with Chris Schenkel calling the play-by-play.

    1964

    • Little League Baseball is granted a Charter of Federal Incorporation by the U.S. Congress.
    • Danny Yacarino pitches a no-hitter and hits a home run to lead Mid Island Little League of Staten Island, NY, against Monterrey, Mexico, 4-0, for the Series title.

    1965

    • Venezuela and Spain are represented in the Little League World Series for the first time.

    1966

    • Little League Baseball’s first regional headquarters, the Southern Region Headquarters, opens in St. Petersburg, FL.
    • A rain delay during a World Series game holds up the contest for one hour and thirty-three minutes.
    • The game is broadcast in color for the first time on ABC Wide World of Sports.

    1967

    • West Tokyo, Japan, becomes the first Far East team to win the Little League World Series title.
    • Baseball great Ted Williams is an announcer for ABC.
    • Future Major Leaguer Bobby Mitchell plays in the 1967 Little League Baseball World Series for Northridge Little League.

    1968

    • The old wooden stands at Howard J. Lamade Memorial Field are replaced with concrete, and the venue is renamed Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
    • Big League Baseball for players sixteen to eighteen years old is started.
    • Turk Schonert, future NFL quarterback, is a member of the Garden Grove, CA, team in the Series.

    1969

    • The Western Regional Headquarters of Little League Baseball in San Bernardino, CA, is opened.
    • Newberry Little League participates in the World Series, becoming the first Williamsport-area team to play in the World Series since 1948.
    • Taiwan wins the first of its seventeen Little League World Series.
  • 1970 - 1979

    1970

    • The Canadian Headquarters of Little League Baseball opens in Ottawa, Ontario.

    1971

    • Lloyd McClendon, who would become a Major League player and later the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, hits five home runs in five at bats during the World Series for Gary, IN … One of the longest games in World Series history is played over two hours and fifty-one minutes as Gary and Tainan, Taiwan battle for nine innings.
    • A Little League State Center opens in Waco, Texas.
    • Howard J. Lamade Stadium is expanded to increase seating capacity to 10,000.
    • The aluminum bat, developed in cooperation with Little League, is first used.

    1972

    • Taiwan wins a second consecutive World Series championship for the Far East Region.
    • Title IX, giving women and girls greater opportunities at higher levels of athletics, is signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon.

    1973

    • Dr. Creighton J. Hale is elected president of Little League Baseball, only the second full-time president in thirty-five years.
    • Future Major Leaguer Ed Vosberg plays in the Little League World Series for the runner-up team from Tucson, AZ, and goes on to become the only person to participate in the Little League World Series, College World Series (University of Arizona, champions, 1980) and Major League World Series (Florida Marlins, champions, 1997).

    1974

    • Little League rules are revised to allow participation by girls.
    • Little League Softball and Senior League Softball programs are created.

    1975

    • Non-U.S. teams are barred from advancing beyond regional play because of an over-emphasis on tournament play.
    • Lakewood, NJ, defeats Belmont Heights, of Tampa, FL, 4-3, in the final.

    1976

    • Baseball Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Banks and Bob Gibson are Series guests as Chofu, Japan, wins that country’s third championship, led by Kiyoshi Tsumura, who pitches a perfect game in the semifinal against Europe.

    1977

    • Future Major Leaguer Charlie Hayes plays in the 1977 Series for Hattiesburg, MS.

    1978

    • Little League grows to include more than 6,500 Little Leagues for nine-to-twelve-year-olds, 2,850 Senior Leagues for thirteen-to-fifteen-year-olds, and 1,300 Big League programs for sixteen-to-eighteen-year-olds.
    • Little League and Senior League Softball teams total more than 7,400.
    • Future Major Leaguer Erik Johnson is a pitcher in the 1978 Little League Baseball World Series championship game for San Ramon Valley Little League of Danville, Calif.

    1979

    • Junior League Baseball is created for thirteen-year-olds.
    • Future Major Leaguers Dwight Gooden, Floyd Youmans and Vance Lovelace play for the Belmont Heights (Tampa, FL) team in the Senior League Baseball World Series in Gary, Indiana.
  • 1980 - 1989

    1980

    • George Bush, a former Little League coach who is elected vice president three months later, throws out the first pitch for the World Series championship game.
    • Big League Softball is started for players sixteen to eighteen years old.
    • Belmont Heights reaches the finals of the Little League Baseball World Series, falling 4-3 to Taiwan. Gary Sheffield and Derek Bell, future Major Leaguers, play for Belmont Heights.

    1981

    • Dan Wilson, later a Major Leaguer, plays for Barrington (IL) Little League in the Little League World Series.
    • Derek Bell returns with Belmont Heights, but his team falls to Taiwan again. Bell becomes the first Major League player to have played in two Little League World Series.

    1982

    • The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum opens at the Little League International Headquarters complex.
    • Future Major Leaguer Wilson Alvarez plays for the Maracaibo, Venezuela, team in the Series.
    • Kirkland, WA, defeats Taiwan, 6-0, before a then-World Series record crowd of 40,000 as Cody Webster tosses a two-hitter in the final game, ending Taiwan’s 31-game winning streak in Williamsport.

    1983

    • Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn throws the ceremonial first pitch at the Little League World Series championship game and music star Chuck Mangione plays the Dominican Republic National Anthem.
    • East Marietta (GA) National Little League wins the World Series with future Major Leaguer Marc Pisciotta on the mound.

    1984

    • Seoul, Korea, wins that country’s first Little League World Series championship, defeating Altamonte Springs, Fla., 6-2. One Altamonte Springs player is future Major Leaguer Jason Varitek.
    • Peter J. McGovern, Little League Board of Directors Chairman for more than thirty years, dies June 30.

    1985

    • For the first time, ABC-TV carries the Little League World Series championship game live on Wide World of Sports.
    • For the first time in baseball history, ABC mounts a micro-miniature camera on the mask of the home plate umpire, Frank Rizzo.

    1986

    • Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth makes his first visit to the Little League World Series for the championship.
    • Bill Shea, president of the Little League Foundation and the namesake of New York’s Shea Stadium, throws the ceremonial first pitch.

    1987

    • The 1947 Little League World Series champions, the Maynard Midgets of Williamsport, are reunited on the field before the championship game.

    1988

    • Tom Seaver, graduate of Spartan Little League in Fresno,CA, is the first enshrinee of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence.

    1989

    • Little League Baseball celebrates its fiftieth anniversary.
    • Poland receives four certificates of charter for the first Little League programs in a former Eastern-Bloc country, delivered in person by President George Bush.
    • Trumbull (Conn.) National Little League becomes the first U.S. team to win the World Series since 1983 before a crowd of 45,000. Future NHL star Chris Drury is on the mound for Trumbull.
  • 1990 - 1999

    1990

    • Little League Baseball launches the first full season of the Challenger Division for mentally and physically disabled children.
    • Little League in now enjoyed by children in thirty-nine countries.
    • Taiwan regains the championship of the Little League World Series with a 9-0 victory over Shippensburg, PA.

    1991

    • Taiwan defeats Danville, CA, 11-0 in the final game of the Little League World Series.

    1992

    • Carl E. Stotz, founder of Little League, dies.
    • The Little League World Series undergoes a series of changes — A “pool” format is adopted in which each team is assured a minimum of three meaningful games in World Series play; A state-of-the-art Musco Sports Lighting System is installed at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, and the first Little League World Series night game is played.
    • Long Beach (CA) Little League is named World Series Champion following the disqualification of Zamboanga (Philippines) City Little League.
    • Guests at the Series include former Little Leaguers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Will, Tom Selleck and Vice President Dan Quayle.

    1993

    • Long Beach becomes the first U.S. league in history to win consecutive Little League Baseball World Series championships with a thrilling 3-2 victory against a team from Panama. Long Beach is led for a second year by Sean Burroughs, who pitches two no-hitters in the World Series, and later would later play in the Major Leagues.

    1994

    • After a record three hour, six minute rain delay, Coquivacoa Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela, becomes the first Latin American team to win the Little League World Series since 1958.
    • Stephen D. Keener becomes the first Little League graduate to be named president of Little League Baseball, succeeding Dr. Creighton J. Hale.

    1995

    • Hall of Famer Stan Musial throws the ceremonial first pitch for the Little League World Series.
    • After a three-year drought, Taiwan defeats Spring, Texas, 17-3, for the world title.

    1996

    • Little League celebrates the fiftieth World Series.
    • Little League’s first full-service Regional Headquarters outside the U.S. is opened, in Kutno, Poland.
    • The Little League Education Program for Managers and Coaches is launched.
    • The John W. Lundy Little League Conference Center is dedicated at Little League Baseball International.
    • Taiwan wins a seventeenth series title.

    1997

    • Little League and Major League Baseball enter an agreement for the first time, co-producing a magazine that is mailed free of charge directly to nearly 2 million Little Leaguers.
    • An all-time record 2,993,760 Little Leaguers participate.
    • Sharon Robinson (daughter of the late Jackie Robinson) is a guest at the Little League World Series.
    • For the first time, U.S. Regional championship games in Little League Baseball are televised nationally on ESPN2.
    • Linda Vista Little League of Guadalupe, Mexico, wins the Little League World Series with a 4-run rally in the last inning.
    • The Chinese Taipei Baseball Association decides leagues in Taiwan will not charter with Little League.

    1998

    • Little League expands to include ninety-five countries.
    • Toms River (NJ) East American Little League wins the Little League Baseball World Series, defeating Kashima (Japan) Little League 12-9 in a championship game featuring eleven home runs and 41,200 fans.
    • It is announced that the Little League World Series will expand from eight teams to 16 in 2001, and a second stadium will be built.

    1999

    • The number of countries with Little League programs hits 100 for the first time as Burkina-Faso joins.
    • Hirakata Little League of Osaka, Japan, wins that nation’s first World Series title since 1976, defeating Phenix City, Ala., 5-0.
    • Little League begins the first capital campaign in the program’s history, to raise $20 million for a variety of projects.
  • 2000 - 2009

    2000

    • Construction begins on Little League Volunteer Stadium, just north of Lamade Stadium, in preparation for expansion of the Little League World Series from eight to sixteen teams in 2001.
    • Fraser Valley of British Columbia wins Canada’s first World Series, taking the Big League Baseball title in Tucson, AZ
    • Sierra Maestra Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela, defeats a team from Bellaire, Texas, 3-2, in the Little League Baseball World Series final.
    • Little League graduate George W. Bush, son of former President George Bush, is elected to the highest U.S. office.

    2001

    • Construction is completed on Volunteer Stadium in time for the expansion of the 55th Little League Baseball World Series.
    • George W. Bush becomes the first U.S. President to visit the Little League Baseball World Series, watching as Japan defeats a Florida team 2-1 in the final game. First Lady Laura Bush and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge also attend. A day earlier, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani attended a Little League Baseball World Series game involving a New York City team.
    • A special field is constructed by Little League Baseball International personnel as President Bush invites Little League Tee Ball teams to the White House for three historic baseball games on the South Lawn. A fourth game, scheduled for Sept. 16, is postponed because of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

    2002

    • Little League’s “Honoring Our Hometown Heroes” program is launched paying homage to law enforcement personnel, firefighters, military personnel and local heroes in thousands of communities worldwide.
    • The Little League Parent Orientation Program debuts.
    • In the Junior League Softball Division, Windmills Little League of Utrecht, Netherlands, becomes the first European team to win a World Series.
    • In one of only three 1-0 final games in Little League Baseball World Series history, Valley Sports American Little League wins the championship against Sendai (Japan) Higashi Little League.

    2003

    • In the latest phase of the Little League Child Protection Program, local Little Leagues are now required to conduct background checks on certain volunteers.
    • A team from Africa (Cape Town, South Africa) is the first from that continent to advance to a World Series, earning a berth in the Big league Baseball World Series in Easley, S.C.

    2004

    • The inaugural Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree is held at Little League International, as eight teams from several states spend a four-day weekend in Williamsport.
    • Jack Losch, center fielder for the Maynard Midgets league team that won the first Little League Baseball World Series title in 1947, passes away. Mr. Losch became an All-America sports star at the University of Miami, was a running back for the Green Bay Packers, was an Air Force jet fighter pilot, and retired as a senior executive at General Motors.
    • John W. “Jack” Lundy, owner of Lundy Lumber and one of the original sponsors of Little League in 1939, passes away.
    • U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, wife Lynne, daughter Liz, and granddaughters Kate, Elizabeth, and Grace, attend a U.S. semifinal game during the Little League Baseball World Series.
    • After more than 50 years of publishing a printed newsletter, Little League converts the “Little Leaguer” newsletter to an all-electronic format. At its peak, the printed newsletter reached 13,000 people four times a year. The e-news reaches 400,000 people each month at the end of 2004.

    2006

    • The inaugural Little League World Challenger Jamboree is held in Norfolk, Va.
    • World Series participants Chris Drury (1989) and Krissy Wendell (1994) compete for the U.S. for the second time in Winter Olympics.
    • A new league age determination date goes into effect. …Fences at the two World Series stadiums are moved from 205 feet to 225 feet.

    2007

    • Following a vote by the Little League International Board of Directors during the 2006 Little League Baseball World Series, the pitch count became a part of Little League Baseball for the 2007 regular season and tournament play.
    • For the first time, Japan’s national champion receives an automatic berth to the Little League Baseball World Series. The countries formerly competing with Japan in the Asia Region Tournament merged with the countries competing in the Pacific Region Tournament, to determine the Asia-Pacific Region champion, which qualifies for the World Series.
    • Little League International and ESPN signed an eight-year television contract, which provides for continued coverage of the Little League Baseball World Series on ESPN’s family of networks, and expands the coverage of Little League’s seven other World Series tournaments. The contract also allows Little League International to lower charter fees and provide the first 80 volunteer background checks free of charge for each of its chartered leagues.
    • The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, opened in 1982, celebrates its 25th anniversary.

    2008

    • Little League International creates a free on-line coaching resource that Little League managers and coaches can turn to for reference, education, or to stay current with the latest drills and coaching techniques. The Little League Coach Resource Center, located on the World Wide Web at: www.LittleLeagueCoach.org is a free service created by Little League International in cooperation with Cramer Digital Marketing and Event Solutions in Norwood, Mass.
    • President George W. Bush welcomes Little Leaguers to the White House as part of the “Tee Ball on the South Lawn” program. Games 18-20 in the series included the first international game with the invitation of a team from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Another highlight for this program was the first ‘all-star’ game in which one representative from all 50 United States participated in the first “Tee Ball on the South Lawn” doubleheader.
    • The New England Sports Network (NESN) and Madison Square Garden Network (MSG) enter into an agreement with Little League International to become the first regional sports networks to televise early round games of the Little League International regional tournament. Televising four games each, NESN aired games from the New England regional tournament and MSG aired games from the Mid-Atlantic tournament. Both tournaments are played at the A. Barlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center in Bristol, Conn., home of Little League’s Eastern Region Headquarters.
    • The Transatlantic Region at the Little League Baseball World Series is discontinued in favor of separate Europe and Middle East and Africa (MEA) Region designations. This change creates an opportunity for each country to have its own national champion represented at the respective regional tournaments, regardless of whether the teams are predominantly children of United States’ expatriates or native to the country where they live.
    • Little League and its equipment donation partner, Pitch In For Baseball®, enter into a strategic partnership to expand the assistance provided to underserved children in Little League programs both in the United States and around the world. In addition, Little League initiates its first equipment collection during World Series Championship Weekend. Pitch in For Baseball® will redistribute all collected items to children in need participating in chartered Little League programs worldwide.
    • Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala., the world’s foremost authority on pitching-related injuries, was elected to the Little League International Board of Directors.
    • Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, President of the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, was voted Chairman-Elect of the Little League International Board of Directors.

    2009

    • Little League International completed construction and other renovations to the Administration Building in Williamsport, Pa., adding approximately 12,000 square-feet of additional office space.
    • Warner Robins, Ga., was selected as site of Little League’s Southeastern Region Headquarters, which was relocated from St. Petersburg, Fla.
    • Little League International and the National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) Softball League establish a partnership with additional training and education resources to expand awareness and opportunities for girls who play in the various divisions of Little League Softball.
    • Little League’s Southwest Region Headquarters in Waco, Texas, was renamed in honor of President George W. Bush, the first U.S. President to have played Little League.
    • Little League International and the Baseball Factory formed a partnership to provide youth players worldwide with increased player development and college placement opportunities.
    • A time capsule, holding various items of the day, including a scroll listing the current Little League International Board of Directors and staff members and messages from Little League players and volunteers, was placed in the cornerstone of Headquarters Administration building.
  • 2010 - 2017

    2010

    • A pilot baseball program, the 50/70 Program, for 12- and 13-year-olds is introduced that features a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths.
    • The format for play in the first round of the Little League Baseball World Series was changed from pool play to double-elimination.
    • Instead of having the annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree in South Williamsport, Pa., four highly-successful state Jamborees were held in Newark, N.J., Houston, Chicago and Atlanta.
    • The dedication of the Southeastern Region Headquarters in Warner Robins is held on June 12, the culmination of one year of construction at the site.
    • Pitching rules for baseball are changed so the tournament and regular-season rules are the same with the number of days of rest increased.
    • Video replay at the Little League Baseball World Series is expanded – there were 16 reviews (15 manager challenges/1 umpire review) with eight of the original calls on the field upheld, and eight calls overturned with an average review time of 52 seconds (from the time the manager/umpire requests Video Replay, to the decision from the Video Replay Official).
    • Japan breaks a five-year run by U.S. teams winning the Little League Baseball World Series title game over Hawaii, 4-1.
    • An umpire resource center is developed giving umpires a place on the Little League web site to find informational and training resources

    2011

    • The 50/70 Pilot program was expanded to include a second option for 11- and 12-year-olds.
    • A moratorium was placed on composite bats in all four divisions of play for baseball.
    • The Little League Urban Initiative expands its Jamboree program, holding seven regional events across the country to give opportunities to more of the program’s players to participate in a tournament setting.
    • With many of the pieces on loan from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Little League Museum unveils a year-long exhibit featuring memorabilia of NFL players who are Little League graduates.
    • ESPN 3D will air Little League Baseball World Series games for the first time.
    • A five-year study on the use of the curve ball and arm injuries for youth baseball players by the University of North Carolina concludes the primary cause of arm injuries is overuse and they could find no proof the curve ball is any more dangerous than any other pitch. A grant from the Yawkey Foundations made the study possible

    2012

    • Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour is elected Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors, making her the first female
      to ever hold this position
    • The Lugazi, Uganda, team that participated in the 2012 LLBWS became the first team to represent the country of Africa
    • Little League introduced a registration and marketing “Tool Kit,” along with related website
    • The first series of “regional roundtables” were held, as district representatives gathered to discuss the rules and regulations that govern
      the Little League program

    2013

    • The Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division officially launches, with Japan winning the inaugural World Series in Livermore,
      Calif.
    • The Little League Tee Ball program is relaunched to focus on fun, fitness and fundamentals
    • The World of Little League: Peter J. McGovern Museum and Official Store opens after a $4.3 million renovation
    • The Big League Softball World Series relocated to Lower Sussex, Del.
    • The Challenger Little League Baseball World Jamboree is renamed in honor of long-time volunteer Jake Hardison
    • The LLBWS regions are realigned, creating a direct-entry for Australia
    • Perth Metro Central Little League becomes the first team from Australia to play in the LLBWS
    • A team from the Czech Republic wins their way to South Williamsport, the first trip to the LLBWS for that country
    • Little League agrees to a new, eight-year multi-platform rights extension with ESPN

    2014

    • Little League International celebrates its 75th year anniversary with Little League Big Legacy Project, featuring a Vignette Series produced
      by ESPN and a one-hour documentary made by WVIA which was narrated by legendary baseball broadcaster Vin Scully
    • Mo’ne Davis of Taney Youth Baseball Association Little League becomes the first female pitcher at the LLBWS to win a game after throwing a shutout in the team’s first appearance
    • Little League International holds its 26th Congress at the Hilton Minneapolis in Minneapolis, Minn.
    • Former Little League President and CEO, Dr. Creighton Hale, retires from the Little League International Board of Directors after 60 years of service
    • Perth Metro Northern Little League picks up Australia’s first ever victory in a LLBWS with a 10-1 win over South Moravia Little League

    2015

    • LLBWS sets total attendance record with 469,964 fans
    • Little League International Board of Directors decides to change the Age Determination Date for all divisions of Little League Baseball and the Little League Challenger Division to August 31 while approving to grandfather the four months of children born between May 1 and August 31, 2005, for the 2018 season, so that no child will lose their 12-year-old season of Little League Baseball
    • Little League Baseball and Softball announces $4 million Grow the Game Initiative to help local Little League programs grow the game in their communities by providing financial assistance to these programs
    • Little League University, an online destination for training and education, launches
    • Former Little League graduate Rob Manfred officially named MLB Commissioner
    • Little League teams up with MLB and ESPN for Sunday Nights in the Park where each Sunday, a local Little League program appeared on a live segment of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight Sunday Night Countdown as well as part of the broadcast on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball
    • Little League Coach Pitch Program created to provide volunteer managers and coaches in the Little League Minor Baseball Division with the appropriate direction to organize and efficiently operate practices throughout the season
    • Russell Athletic launches first-of-its kind uniform combinations for the LLBWS in honor of the 75th Anniversary
    • A hat worn by Babe Ruth on his 1934 tour of Japan is added to the complete uniform in the World of Little League Peter J. McGovern Museum and Official Store, making it the only complete Babe Ruth uniform on display in the world

    2016

    • Little League International, in cooperation with Major League Baseball’s inaugural “PLAY BALL Weekend,” hosts PLAY BALL Day where children ages seven to 14 had the chance to participate in special skill-developing activities and other baseball and softball-related games on Howard J. Lamade and Volunteer Stadiums
    • Little League partners with with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) to provide great content during Little League International Tournament games throughout the month of August
    • The use of video replay is extended to use at every televised Little League Baseball Regional and World Series game
    • The Little League International Board of Directors approves the decision to restructure the teenage divisions, eliminating the Big League Divisions of baseball and softball and capping participation in Little League programs at 16
    • Little League Baseball Great Lakes Regional Championship game played at Howard J. Lamade Stadium due to inclement weather in Indianapolis, marking the first ever regional championship game to be played at the Little League International Complex

    2017

    • First ever MLB Little League Classic took place at Bowman Field between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals
    • MLB and Little League announce official partnership to continue fostering interest and encouraging participation in youth-centered baseball and softball activities
    • ONE Softball provides Little League with inspirational and educational softball content
    • DICK’s Sporting Goods partners to offer retail and technological resources to Little League constituents through DICK’S Team Sports HQ, powered by Blue Sombrero
    • Zionsville, Ind., was officially selected as the new location for the Central Region Headquarters
    • Former Little League President and CEO Dr. Creighton J. Hale passes away at the age of 93

In 1939, Carl and his wife Grayce took the experiment a step further, enlisting the help of brothers George and Bert Bebble and their wives, Annabelle and Eloise, respectively. Carl, George and Bert were the managers of the first three teams: Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber and Jumbo Pretzel. John and Peggy Lindemuth soon joined the group, with the eight volunteers making up the very first Little League board of directors.

Carl also talked to his friends in the community and came up with the name: Little League. His idea was to provide a wholesome program of baseball for the boys of Williamsport, as a way to teach them the ideals of sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork.

The sponsorships (the fee was $30) helped to pay for equipment and uniforms for 30 players. Since then, sponsorship of Little League both at the local league level and at the Headquarters level have helped to keep costs to parents to a minimum.

On June 6, 1939, in the very first Little League game ever played, Lundy Lumber defeated Lycoming Dairy, 23-8. Lycoming Dairy came back to win the season’s first-half title, and faced second-half champ Lundy Lumber in a best-of-three series. Lycoming Dairy won the final game of the series, 3-2.

In the following years, other programs emulating the first Little League sprung up. Boundaries for each league were established to ensure each league could thrive without worrying about neighboring programs “raiding” its players.

From those humble beginnings, Little League Baseball has become the world’s largest organized youth sports program. In the space of just six decades, Little League grew from three teams to nearly 200,000 teams, in all 50 U.S. states and more than 80 countries.

And the basic goal remains the same as it did in 1939, to give the children of the world a game that provides fundamental principles (sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork) they can use later in life to become good citizens.

Little League teaches good sportsmanship and teamwork.
– Carl E. Stotz