Tragedy & Recovery
In 1988, tragedy struck just 93 days prior to the series when the original press box and dugout building was destroyed by fire. What occurred after that has been called a “Little League miracle.” Volunteers came forward with time, energy and talent. Thousands of dollars in donations came from local corporations, district administrators, World Series alumni umpires and Little Leaguers everywhere. The City of Taylor donated architectural, legal, and guidance services.
After 64 days of planning, raising money and installing sewers, there were just 29 days to rise from the ashes. With the players arriving for the eighth annual World Series, the backstop was installed and, the next day, the series started on schedule.
Champions Over the Years
That year, Mexico won the series for the first time and a team from Quebec became the first Canadian entry in the tournament.
In 1989, Manati, Puerto Rico, became the first repeat champion. In 1990, a team from Puerto Rico won for the third time – the first time a regional champion won back-to-back world titles.
In 1990, the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) of Germany became the first European-based team to compete in the series. Since then, teams from Belgium, Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Netherlands, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Italy have represented the region, which became known as Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) and is now called Europe/Africa. No country has been represented more than Germany, which has played in Taylor nine times in 24 years.
In 1991, the city of Spring became the first Texas team to win the World Series. The next year, 1992, saw Tucson become the first Arizona team to win the championship.
In 1993, Puerto Rico won the World Series for the fourth time, defeating Mexico in the first of only two years that a team from the United States was not involved in the championship game (1999 was the other). In 1993, the Goodyear Blimp circled the field and delighted the crowd with a “Good Luck Junior League World Series” message in lights.
In 1994, a team from Thousand Oaks, California, won the world title. Notable that year was that Thousand Oaks native Sparky Anderson – the manager of the Major League baseball Detroit Tigers – visited World Series Field to watch his hometown team play.
Also in 1994, the Junior League World Series Alumni Club debuted with an impressive membership registration of 356 people. In 1995, the Alumni Club Pavilion was built near the field, using alumni funds and volunteer labor. In 1996, the Northwest 45 Little League from Spring, Texas, became the first U.S. Little League to win a second Junior League championship.
Improvements on the field continued in 1997 when right field was rebuilt to correct drainage problems of the past. Asphalt paving beneath the bleacher seating and the connecting roadways further improved the appearance and fan comfort.