Little League World Series
The Little League World Series is an international baseball tournament held for players between the ages of 11 and 13 and run by Little League Baseball Inc. The tournament is held annually in August in South Williamsport, Pa., and broadcast nationally on ESPN. The tournament began in 1947, and through 2012, the United States has won the most titles with 33.
In 2012, the team from Japan won the title, beating Tennessee in the championship game, 12-2.
Little League baseball has been around since the 1930s, when an oil company clerk helped start a neighborhood league for his nephews and their friends. Under the supervision of Carl Stotz, the first Little League game was played June 6, 1939. By 1946, the program had expanded to 12 leagues across the state of Pennsylvania, and the first program outside the founding state was started a year later in New Jersey.
Within only a few years, Little League expanded across the nation, and the first Little Leagues outside the 48 states began in 1950 in Hawaii, Panama and Canada.
The year of 1947 also claimed the first Little League World Series (then called the National Little League Tournament), which was won by Williamsport's Maynard Midgets. For the first decade of the World Series, only teams from the United States participated. In the 1960s, the tournament expanded to include a full international slate of teams, which quickly began to dominate the event. Between 1967 and 1974, teams from the Far East won seven of the eight Little League World Series played, leading the event to limit participation to just U.S. teams in 1975. This restriction was removed after just one year.
In 1953, the World Series was televised for the first time by CBS. ABC took over the rights in 1960, eventually passing the broadcast on to ESPN in 2007, when the network signed an eight-year contract.
Little League has become the world's largest organized youth sports program. The program currently involves nearly 180,000 teams across the world, and more than 35 million people are believed to have played or volunteered for a Little League program.
In 2010, Little League International expanded video replay at the tournament. In previous years, replay had been used only when plays should have resulted in a dead ball but did not. Starting in 2010, force-outs, tags on the basepaths, missed bases and hit batters all were subject to video replay.
The qualification process for the Little League World Series begins in the months before the tournament, when each local Little League program puts together an all-star team within its league. That team goes on to compete in district, sectional and state tournaments, most of which are double-elimination. The state champions (each state sends two teams) go on to a regional competition, broken up into eight regions:
- New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)
- Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
- Southeast (AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TE, VA, WV)
- Great Lakes (IN, IL, KY, MI, OH, WI)
- Midwest (IA, KA, MN, MO, ND/SD, NE)
- Northwest (AK, ID, OR, MT, WA, WY)
- Southwest (AR, CO, LA, MI, NM, OK, East Texas, West Texas)
- West (AZ, Northern CA, Southern CA, HI, NV, UT)
Eight divisions also compete in the international bracket: Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Latin America, Japan, Asia-Pacific, Europe-Middle East-Africa and Trans-Atlantic. More than 7,000 teams -- 6,500 in the U.S. -- participate in the tournament, with 6,500 of them eliminated within the first three weeks.
The Little League World Series is contested by 16 teams: the eight winners of the regional tournaments and eight international champions. In 2010, the tournament was determined by double elimination for the first time. The two brackets (the U.S. and international brackets) are divided into two pools. The winner of each pool goes on to a single-elimination championship game within its bracket. Then the U.S. and international champions compete for the World Series title in the championship game.
Each team still will play at least three games -- the four teams that lose both games in their pool will play a consolation match against an international team that also dropped out in two games.
Before 2010, the World Series was conducted as a round-robin tournament -- the squads were divided into two brackets (the U.S. and international brackets), which then were divided into two four-team pools. Two teams from each pool advanced to a semifinal round, which then decided the teams that would play in a bracket championship game.
Players in the Little League World Series must be between the ages of 11 and 13. Players must provide birth certificates to show they are of age. In 2006, Little League International changed the birth-date cutoff -- the earliest date that players could turn 13 -- to May 1 from Aug. 1. That means that many of the players in the tournament, which takes place in late August, have already turned 13.
The only time a squad has had to forfeit a title for not meeting eligibility requirements was in 1992, when a squad from the Philippines forfeited its title for using players outside the designated area as well as using over-age players. In 2001, a much more high-profile forfeiture occurred when Danny Almonte, a pitcher from the Bronx, N.Y., team, was found to be 14 years old (his squad finished third but later gave up all its wins).
After that tournament, Little League International placed more stringent procedures on checking eligibility, particularly concerning birth certificate formats. That same year, Little League added a rule that a participant must be a citizen of the country he plays for -- although there are certain specifications that allow a participant living legally in another country to play. Often, teams in the international brackets come from military bases in that area.
Girls are allowed to participate in the Little League World Series, although there also is a separate softball World Series. Girls were not allowed to participate in Little League until 1974, when the rules were revised to allow inclusion. Little League's softball programs were created the same year. Victoria Roche was the first girl to play in a Little League World Series, in the 1984 competition for the Brussels (Belgium) international squad. The 2004 tournament marked the first time two girls played in the same World Series (it happened again in 2009).
Several sporting and general celebrities took part in Little League baseball -- 14 players in the Baseball Hall of Fame played Little League, including Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken Jr., Nolan Ryan and Wade Boggs. George W. Bush became the first Little League graduate to be elected president of the United States after playing for four years in the 1950s.
Jason Bay -- 1990 LLWS (Trail, British Columbia) -- 2004 National League Rookie of the Year; three-time All-Star (2005, 2006, 2009). Has played for Padres (2003), Pirates (2003-08), Red Sox (2008-09) and Mets (current). Was traded three times before his rookie of the year season. Played for Canada in the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009.
Lastings Milledge -- 1997 LLWS (Manatee East, Fla., U.S. runner-up) -- New York Mets' first-round pick (No. 12 overall) in 2003 draft. Played with four of his teammates from that LLWS team at Lakewood Ranch High School. Made his major league debut for the Mets in 2006. Traded to the Nationals in 2008 and then to the Pirates in 2009. He is now in the White Sox organization.
Jason Varitek -- 1984 LLWS (Altamonte Springs, Fla., which lost in finals to South Korea). Was on the Georgia Tech team that lost the College World Series final in 1994. Made major league debut in 1997. In 2004, led the Red Sox to their first World Series title since 1918. Is one of two players (Ed Vosberg is the other) to have played in all three world series (LLWS, College, MLB). Was a three-time All-America selection and the 1993 Baseball America's College Player of the Year; played on Team USA at the 1992 Olympic Games.
John "Boog" Powell -- 1954 LLWS -- American League MVP in 1970 with 35 homers and 114 RBIs; four-time All-Star. Won the World Series with the Orioles in 1970. Now operates a barbecue stand at Camden Yards.
Gary Sheffield -- 1980 LLWS (Tampa, Fla., runner-up to Chinese Taipei) -- nine-time MLB All-Star. Derek Bell was a teammate on that LLWS squad. The 22-year MLB veteran played for eight teams and was member of 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins. One of 25 players with 500 career home runs (finished with 509, 24th all-time).
Rick Wise -- 1958 LLWS. Played 18 years (last year was 1982) in MLB, pitching for the Phillies, Cardinals, Red Sox, Indians and Padres. Pitched a no-hitter and hit two home runs in the same game (the only pitcher to accomplish this feat) for the Phillies on June 23, 1971, against the Reds. Coached from 1985 until he retired after the 2008 season.
Chris Drury -- 1989 LLWS (Trumbull, Conn. He pitched the team to a 5-2 victory over Taiwan) -- 1999 Rookie of the Year with Colorado Avalanche of the NHL. Had an award-filled, four-year college career at Boston University, capturing the Hobey Baker Award as the top collegiate player in 1998. In 2001, he helped the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. Competed for Team USA at the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Games. Has played for the Avalanche, Flames, Sabres and Rangers.
Pierre Turgeon -- 1982 LLWS (Rotary Little League team. He finished the tournament with a 1-1 pitching record and went 5-for-9 at the plate with three doubles, five runs batted in and three runs scored.) -- Lady Byng Award recipient (1992-93); four-time NHL All-Star. Picked first overall by Buffalo in the 1987 NHL entry draft. Played 16 years in NHL with more than 500 goals and 800 assists to his credit. Retired in 2007.
Billy Hunter -- 1955 LLWS (Delaware Township Little League in Cherry Hill, N.J. He was a pitcher and infielder on a team that made it all the way to the final.) Was an NFL kick returner with the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. A former U.S. attorney who has represented clients from Patty Hearst to Latrell Sprewell. Now the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.
Matt Cassel -- 1994 LLWS (member of the "Earthquake Kids" from Northridge, Calif., which lost in the final to Venezuela.) Pitched for one season at USC. Was drafted in the 36th round in 2004 by the A's but opted to concentrate on football. Was the backup quarterback to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC. Stepped into the Patriots' starting QB job when Tom Brady got hurt in 2008; was traded to the Chiefs the following offseason, where he is now the starting QB.
Howard J. Lamade Stadium
Howard J. Lamade Stadium is the field in South Williamsport, Pa., that has played host to the Little League Baseball World Series every year since 1959. Located off U.S. Route 15, the field replaced Brown Memorial Park in Williamsport as the tournament site, and is named for the late vice president of Grit Publishing who was a member of the Little League board of directors in the 1950s.
In keeping with Little League regulations, the field at Howard J. Lamade Stadium is roughly two-thirds the size of a conventional major league field. The pitching rubber is 46 feet from home plate, while basepaths are 60 feet in length. The distance from home plate to all points of the outfield fence at Lamade Stadium is 225 feet.
The complex, originally called Howard J. Lamade Memorial Field, was built in 1959 on land purchased from Lycoming College with funds donated by Grit Publishing. (Williamsport's Brown Memorial Park hosted the event from 1947 to 1958.) Plans for the field came from a student project at Pennsylvania State University and equipment and labor was supplied by the Williamsport Technical Institute (now the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport).
It was renamed Howard J. Lamade Stadium when the original wood and steel stands were razed and a concrete stadium was constructed in 1968. Additional seating was added in 1972 and a state-of-the-art lighting system was added in 1992, the year that the first night games were played during the Little League World Series.
The latest revision to the stadium took place in 2006, when its outfield fences were moved back from 205 feet (from home plate) to 225 feet. Also that year, the covered section of seating was extended over the majority of the bench seating down both lines, and more than 900 individual seats with backs were added to bring the total number of seats of that type to more than 1,500.
It is estimated that more than 40,000 fans could be accommodated to watch games at Lamade Stadium, including those on the hills beyond the outfield fences. The actual stadium seats between 8,000 and 10,000 fans, but the exact number of seats available is not known since admission is free and most of the seating during the Little League World Series is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Howard J. Lamade was instrumental in the early growth of Little League Baseball, and is the only person to have served on both the first corporate board of directors of Little League Baseball and the first board of trustees of the Little League Foundation (which was formed in 1956).
After Lamade passed away in 1958 at the age of 67, his family donated funds to the Williamsport Foundation, used for the purchase and donation of the property in South Williamsport, where Little League's headquarters has been ever since.
Little League Volunteer Stadium
When the Little League Baseball World Series expanded from eight to 16 teams in 2001, a second stadium -- Little League Volunteer Stadium -- was built to serve as the site for additional games required for tournament play.
Situated next to Howard J. Lamade Stadium at Little League Baseball's headquarters in South Williamsport, Pa., Little League Volunteer Stadium was completed in 2001. It can accommodate approximately 5,000 spectators (including lawn seating beyond the outfield), and also features batting cages and an area for pitchers to warm up (underneath the stands behind the dugout on the third-base side of the stadium).
Like the layout at Lamade Stadium, the field at Little League Volunteer Stadium is roughly two-thirds the size of a conventional major league field. The pitching rubber is 46 feet from home plate, while basepaths are 60 feet in length. The distance from home plate to all points of the outfield fence at Little League Volunteer Stadium is 225 feet (increased from 205 feet in 2006).
Little League Volunteer Stadium is used for early-round games (in both the U.S. and international brackets) of the Little League World Series. Admission to and parking for games during the Little League World Series is free, with seating for games available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Little League World Series Year-by-Year Results
|2012||Tokyo, Japan||Goodlettsville, Tennessee||12-2|
|2011||Huntington Beach, California||Hamamatsu City, Japan||2-1|
|2010||Tokyo, Japan||Waipahu, Hawaii||4-1|
|2009||Chula Vista, California||Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei||6-3|
|2008||Waipahu, Hawaii||Matamoros, Mexico||12-3|
|2007||Warner Robins, Georgia||Tokyo, Japan||3-2 (F/8)|
|2006||Columbus, Georgia||Kawaguchi City, Japan||2-1|
|2005||Ewa Beach, Hawaii||Willemstad, Curacao||7-6 (F/7)|
|2004||Willemstad, Curacao||Thousand Oaks, California||5-2|
|2003||Tokyo, Japan||Boynton Beach, Florida||10-0|
|2002||Louisville, Kentucky||Sendai, Japan||1-0|
|2001||Tokyo, Japan||Apopka, Florida||2-1|
|2000||Maracaibo, Venezuela||Bellaire, Texas||3-2|
|1999||Osaka, Japan||Phenix City, Alabama||5-0|
|1998||Toms River, New Jersey||Kashima, Japan||12-9|
|1997||Guadalupe, Mexico||Mission Viejo, California||5-4|
|1996||Chinese Taipei||Cranston, Rhode Island||13-3|
|1995||Tainan, Chinese Taipei||Spring, Texas||17-3|
|1994||Maracaibo, Venezuela||Northridge, California||4-3|
|1993||Long Beach, California||Chiriqui, Panama||3-2|
|1992||Long Beach, California||Zamboaanga City, Phillippines||6-0 (forfeit)|
|1991||Tai Chung, Chinese Taipei||Danville, California||11-0|
|1990||San-Hua, Chinese Taipei||Shippensburg, Pennsylvania||9-0|
|1989||Trumbull, Connecticut||Kang-Tu, Chinese Taipei||5-2|
|1988||Tai Ping, Chinese Taipei||Pearl City, Hawaii||10-0|
|1987||Hua Lian, Chinese Taipei||Irvine, California||21-1|
|1986||Tainan Park, Chinese Taipei||Tucson, Arizona||12-0|
|1985||Seoul, South Korea||Mexicali, Mexico||7-1|
|1984||Seoul, South Korea||Altamonte Springs, Florida||6-2|
|1983||Marietta, Georgia||Barahona, Dominican Republic||3-1|
|1982||Kirkland, Washington||Pu-tzu Town, Chinese Taipei||6-0|
|1981||Tai-Ping, Chinese Taipei||Tampa, Florida||4-2|
|1980||Long Kuong, Chinese Taipei||Tampa, Florida||4-3|
|1979||Pu-Tzu Town, Chinese Taipei||Campbell, California||2-1|
|1978||Pin-Kuana, Chinese Taipei||Danville, California||11-1|
|1977||Li-Teh, Chinese Taipei||El Cajon, California||7-2|
|1976||Tokyo, Japan||Campbell, California||10-3|
|1975||Lakewood, New Jersey||Tampa, Florida||4-3|
|1974||Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei||Red Bluff, California||12-1|
|1973||Tainan City, Chinese Taipei||Tucson, Arizona||12-0|
|1972||Taipei, Chinese Taipei||Hammond, Indiana||6-0|
|1971||Tainan, Chinese Taipei||Gary, Indiana||12-3 (F/9)|
|1970||Wayne, New Jersey||Campbell, California||2-0|
|1969||Taipei, Chinese Taipei||Santa Clara, California||5-0|
|1968||Osaka, Japan||Richmond, Virginia||1-0|
|1967||Tokyo, Japan||Chicago, Illinois||4-1|
|1966||Houston, Texas||West New York, New Jersey||8-2|
|1965||Windsor Locks, Connecticut||Ontario, Canada||3-1|
|1964||Staten Island, New York||Monterrey, Mexico||4-0|
|1963||Granada Hills, California||Stratford, Connecticut||2-1|
|1962||San Jose, California||Kankakee, Illinois||3-0|
|1961||El Cajon, California||El Campo, Texas||4-0|
|1960||Levittown, Pennsylvania||Fort Worth, Texas||5-0|
|1959||Hamtramck, Michigan||Auburn, California||12-0|
|1958||Monterrey, Mexico||Kankakee, Illinois||10-1|
|1957||Industrial Monterrey, Mexico||La Mesa, California||4-0|
|1956||Roswell, New Mexico||Delaware Township, New Jersey||3-1|
|1955||Morrisville, Pennsylvania||Merchantville, New Jersey||4-3|
|1954||Schenectady, New York||Colton, California||7-5|
|1953||Birmingham, Alabama||Schenectady, New York||1-0|
|1952||Norwalk, Connecticut||Monongahela, Pennsylvania||4-3|
|1951||Stamford, Connecticut||Austin, Texas||3-0|
|1950||Houston, Texas||Bridgeport, Connecticut||2-1|
|1949||Hammonton, New Jersey||Pensacola, Florida||5-0|
|1948||Lock Haven, Pennsylvania||St. Petersburg, Florida||6-5|
|1947||Williamsport, Pennsylvania||Lock Haven, Pennsylvania||16-7|
UNITED STATES POOL
|Great Lakes||Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores LL
Grosse Pointe, Mich.
|Mid-Atlantic||Newark National LL
|New England||Westport LL
|Southeast||South Nashville LL
Corpus Christi, Texas
Chula Vista, Calif.
Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei
|Australia||Metro Central LL
|Canada||East Nepean LL
San Lorenzo, P.R.
|Europe & Africa|| South Moravia LL
Brno, Czech Republic
|Latin America||Aguadulce Cabezera LL
|Japan||Musashi Fuchu LL
|Mexico||Municipal De Tijuana LL
Tijuana, Baja California
LLWS SCHEDULE (All times ET)
|Aug. 15||Panama 9, Puerto Rico 4||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 15||Washington 8, Texas 4||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 15||Mexico 12, Australia 0||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 15||Connecticut 3, Tennessee 2||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 16||Chinese Taipei 10, Canada 2||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 16||California 3, Michigan 0||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 16||Japan 7, Czech Republic 3||
|Aug. 16||Delaware 6, Iowa 3||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 17||Puerto Rico 4, Australia 0||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 17||Tennessee 10, Texas 2|
|Aug. 17||Canada 4, Czech Rep. 3||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 17||Iowa 6, Michigan 5||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 18||Mexico 13, Panama 0||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 18||Connecticut 9, Washington 7|
|Aug. 18||California 15, Delaware 3||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 18||Japan 3, Chinese Taipei 2||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 19||Texas 5, Australia 2||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 19||Chinese Taipei 6, Puerto Rico 4||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 19||Tennessee 10, Delaware 0||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 19||Panama 12, Canada 0||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 19||Washington 6, Iowa 5||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 20||Czech Rep. 5, Michigan 3||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 20||Panama 8, Chinese Taipei 7||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 20||Washington 6, Tennessee5||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 21||Japan 5, Mexico 2||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 21||California 6, Connecticut 3||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 22||Mexico 4, Panama 2||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 23||Connctict 14, Washington 13||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 24||Japan 3, Mexico 2||ABC
|Aug. 24||California 12, Connecticut 1||ABC
|Aug. 25||Third Place Game:
Mexico 15, Connecticut 14
|Aug. 25||World Series Championship: Japan 6, California 4||ABC
OTHER LITTLE LEAGUE TITLE GAMES (All times ET)
|Senior League Softball||Indiana def. Italy 5-1||WatchESPN|
|Big League Softball||Delaware def. Puerto Rico 11-6||WatchESPN|
|LL Softball (Semi)||Virginia def. New Jersey 6-3||WatchESPN|
|LL Softball (Semi)||Arizona def. Puerto Rico 10-0||WatchESPN|
|LL Softball (Final)||Arizona def. Virginia 9-0||WatchESPN|
|Junior League Baseball||Taiwan 11, Arizona 2||WatchESPN|
|Senior League Baseball||Panama 2, Pennsylvania 1||WatchESPN|
|Junior League Softball||Florida 10, Washington 1||WatchESPN|
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