Little League Baseball

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Little League Baseball and Softball
Current season, competition or edition:
2014 Little League World Series
Little League Baseball - Logo.jpg
Founded 1939 in Williamsport, Pa.
Claim to fame Largest organized youth sports organization in the world
Motto Courage, Character and Loyalty
Inaugural season 1939
Countries United States (all 50 states); more than 80 other countries
Qualification Little League International Tournament
Founder Carl E. Stotz
Official website www.LittleLeague.org
Little League Baseball, May 2009.
Little League pitcher in Winesburg, Ohio
Little League, Wayne, Michigan

Little League Baseball and Softball (officially, Little League International) is a non-profit organization based in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, United States, which organizes local youth baseball and softball leagues throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Founded by Carl Stotz in 1939 as a three-team league in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Little League Baseball encourages local volunteers to organize and operate Little League programs that are annually chartered through Little League International. Each league can structure itself to best serve the children in the area in which the league operates. Several specific divisions of Little League baseball and softball are available to children ages 4 to 18. The organization holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.[1]

The organization's administrative office is located in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The first Little League Baseball World Series was played in Williamsport in 1947. The Little League International Complex hosts the annual Little League Baseball World Series at Howard J. Lamade Stadium and Little League Volunteer Stadium, and is also the site of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, which provides a history of Little League Baseball and Softball through interactive exhibits for children.

History[edit]

Carl Stotz, a resident of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, founded Little League Baseball in 1939. He began experimenting with his idea in the summer of 1938 when he gathered his nephews, Jimmy and Major Gehron and their neighborhood friends. They tried different field dimensions over the course of the summer and played several informal games. The following summer Stotz felt that he was ready to establish what later became Little League Baseball. The first league in Williamsport had just three teams, each sponsored by a different business. The first teams, Jumbo Pretzel, Lycoming Dairy, and Lundy Lumber, were managed by Carl Stotz and two of his friends, George and Bert Bebble. The men, joined by their wives and another couple, formed the first-ever Little League Board of Directors. Stotz' dream of establishing a baseball league for boys to teach fair play and teamwork had come true.[2]

The first League game took place on June 6, 1939. Lundy Lumber defeated Lycoming Dairy, 23-8. Lycoming Dairy came back to claim the league championship. They, the first-half-season champions, defeated Lundy Lumber, the second-half champs, in a best-of-three season-ending series. The following year a second league was formed in Williamsport, and from there Little League Baseball grew to become an international organization of nearly 200,000 teams in every U.S. state and over 80 countries around the world.[2]

From 1951 through 1973, Little League was for boys only. In 1974, Little League rules were revised to allow participation by girls in the baseball program following the result of a lawsuit filed by the National Organization for Women on behalf of Maria Pepe.[3][4]

According to the Little League Baseball and Softball participation statistics following the 2008 season, there were nearly 2.6 million players in Little League Baseball worldwide, including both boys and girls, including 400,000 registered in Softball (also including both boys and girls). For tournament purposes, Little League Baseball is divided into 16 geographic regions; eight National and eight international. Each summer, Little League operates seven World Series tournaments at various locations throughout the U.S. (Little League softball and Junior, Senior, and Big League baseball and softball).

Timeline[edit]

Early years[edit]

1939: Little League is established by Carl E. Stotz. The first season is played in a lot near Bowman Field. Lycoming Dairy is the first season champion.[2]

1946: Little League has expanded to 12 leagues, all in Pennsylvania.[2]

1947: The first league outside of Pennsylvania is founded in Hammonton, New Jersey. Maynard League of Williamsport defeats a team from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania to win the first Little League World Series. Allen Yearick is the first Little League graduate to play professional baseball when he is signed by the Boston Braves.[2]

1948: Little League has grown to include 94 leagues. Lock Haven returns to the LLWS and defeats a league from St. Petersburg, Florida. The first corporate sponsor, U.S. Rubber, is announced,[2] who donate Pro-Keds shoes to teams at the LLWS.[5]

1949: Little League is featured in the Saturday Evening Post and on Newsreels. Carl Stotz gets hundreds of requests for information on how to form leagues at the local level from all over the United States. Little League incorporates in New York.[2]

1950: Kathryn Johnston became the first girl to play Little League baseball in 1950, when she tucked her hair under her hat, adopted the nickname "Tubby," and joined the Kings Dairy Little League team in Corning, N.Y., posing as a boy.[6] After a few weeks, she told her coach she was a girl, but he said "That's O.K., you're a darned good player." Kathryn played at first base for the season, but then had to stop because of her age (she turned 13.) After that, a rule known as the Tubby Rule prohibited girls from playing in Little League; this was in force until 1974.[7]

1951: Leagues are formed in British Columbia, Canada and near the Panama Canal making them the first leagues outside the United States.[2]

1953: The Little League World Series is televised for the first time. Jim McKay provides the play by play for CBS. Howard Cosell provides play by play for ABC Radio. Joey Jay of Middletown, Connecticut and the Milwaukee Braves is the first Little League graduate to play in the Major Leagues.[2]

1954: Boog Powell, who later played for the Baltimore Orioles plays in the Little League World Series for Lakeland, Florida. Ken Hubbs, who later played for the Chicago Cubs, plays in the LLWS for Colton, California. Little League has expanded to more than 3,300 leagues.[2] Jim Barberi who later played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and in a Major League World Series was also a member of the Schenectady, NY team who won the 1954 Series.

1955: There is a Little League organization in each of the 48 U.S. States. George W. Bush begins playing Little League as a catcher for the Cubs of the Central Little League in Midland, Texas. He is the first Little League graduate to be elected President of the United States.[2] The all-black Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars in Charleston, South Carolina created an uproar that every other Little League organisation in South Carolina refused to play Cannon Street. Little League sent an ultimatum that the team be able to play, which the other leagues refused, where the other 61 organisations returned their charters and formed their own league in response. No team from the state has made the tournament since.

1956: Carl Stotz severs his ties with Little League Baseball in a dispute over the direction and control of Little League. Stotz remains active in youth baseball with the "Original League" in Williamsport.[2] Little League records its first on-field death in Garland, Texas as 12-year-old Richard "Rick" Oden is hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Jerry Armstrong. The city park location of the incident is renamed "Rick Oden Field." As batting helmets are yet to be developed, Garland teams finish the season wearing youth football helmets over their baseball caps when batting. Later that year, Fred Shapiro throws a perfect game in the Little League World Series.

International era[edit]

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice poses with Little Leaguers from Chile in Santiago

1957: Angel Macias throws a perfect game and Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first team from outside the United States to win the Little League World Series.[2]

1959: The Little League World Series moves from Williamsport to the newly built Little League Headquarters in South Williamsport. The protective baseball helmet is developed by Dr. Creighton J. Hale.[2]

1960: A team from West Berlin, West Germany, is the first team from Europe to play in the Little League World Series. The series is broadcast live for the first time on ABC. Little League has grown to 27,400 teams in more than 5,500 leagues.[2]

1961: Brian Sipe, future quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, plays for the series champions from El Cajon, California.[2]

1962: Jackie Robinson attends the Little League World Series. President John F. Kennedy proclaims National Little League Week.[2]

1967: A team from West Tokyo, Japan, is the first team from Asia to win the Little League World Series.[2]

1969: Taiwan begins a dominant era that would see them win 17 Little League World Series titles.[2]

1971: The aluminum baseball bat is first used. It was partly developed by Little League Baseball. Lloyd McClendon of Gary, Indiana, dominates the Little League World Series, hitting five home runs in five at-bats. He later played in the Major Leagues and become the first Little League graduate to manage an MLB club with the Pittsburgh Pirates.[2]

1973: Ed Vosberg plays in the Little League World Series for Tucson, Arizona. He later played in the College World Series for the University of Arizona in 1980 and the World Series in 1997 for the Florida Marlins. Vosberg is the first person to have played in all three world series.[2]

1974: Girls are formally permitted to play in the Little League Baseball program as result of lawsuit brought on behalf of Frances Pescatore[8] and Jenny Fulle,[9] and a Little League Softball program for both boys and girls is created. Bunny Taylor becomes the first girl to pitch a no-hitter.[10]

1975: In a controversial decision, all foreign teams are banned from the Little League World Series. International play is restored the following year.[2]

1980: A team from Tampa, Florida, representing Belmont Heights Little League, is led by two future major leaguers Derek Bell and Gary Sheffield. Bell returns the following year and Belmont Heights again loses in the finals to a team from Taiwan.[2]

1982: The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum opens. Cody Webster leads a team from Kirkland, Washington, in an upset victory of a powerful team from Taiwan. It was Taiwan’s first loss in 31 games.[2] This game was later featured on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series Little Big Men.

1984: Seoul, South Korea, wins the first title for a South Korean team. They defeat a team from Altamonte Springs, Florida, led by future Boston Red Sox catcher, Jason Varitek.[2]

1984:: Victoria Roche, a 12-year-old from Belgium, becomes the first girl to play in the Little League World Series.[11]

1988: Tom Seaver is the first former Little Leaguer to be enshrined in the Peter J. McGovern Museum Hall of Excellence.[2]

1989: Poland becomes the first former Warsaw Pact nation to receive a Little League charter. Trumbull, Connecticut, led by future NHL star Chris Drury, wins the Little League World Series.[2]

1991: Future NL All Star Jason Marquis pitches the Staten Island South Shore Little League team to third place in the Little League World Series over Canada, throwing a no-hitter.[12]

1992: Carl Stotz, the founder of Little League, dies. Lights are installed at Lamade Stadium allowing for the first night games to be played. The series is expanded from single elimination to round-robin format. Long Beach, California, managed by former Major Leaguer Jeff Burroughs and led by his son, future Major Leaguer Sean Burroughs, is named series champion after Zamboanga City, Philippines, is forced to forfeit for playing with ineligible players.[2]

1993: Long Beach repeats as champions, defeating Coquivacoa Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela. They are the first U.S. team to successfully defend their title.[2]

1997: ESPN2 broadcasts regional play for the first time. Taiwan’s baseball association withdraws from Little League Baseball (they would rejoin in 2003). Bradenton, Florida, and Pottsville, Pennsylvania, play at Lamade Stadium before the largest crowd ever to attend a non-championship game. The crowd was estimated at over 35,000 fans.[2]

1999: Burkina-Faso becomes the 100th nation with a Little League organization. Hirkata Little League of Osaka, Japan, becomes the first Japanese team to win a title since 1976.[2]

2000: An expansion project begins at Little League International. Volunteer Stadium is built. This allows the [2] pool of participants to be doubled from 8 to 16 the following year.

2001: The LLWS expands from 8 to 16 teams, with the following changes to regional lineups (post-2000 regions in bold):

  • US regions:
    • The East Region splits into the New England and Mid-Atlantic Regions.
    • The Central Region splits into the Great Lakes and Midwest Regions.
    • The South Region splits into the Southeast and Southwest Regions.
    • The West Region spins off the Northwest Region.
  • International regions:
    • Canada remains intact as a region.
    • The Latin America Region spins off new regions for the Caribbean and Mexico.
    • The Far East Region splits into the Asia and Pacific Regions.
    • The Europe Region spins off the TransAtlantic Region.
      • These two regions were geographically identical, differing in the required composition of playing rosters. Transatlantic teams were required to consist of a majority of players who were nationals of the U.S.A., Canada, or Japan. Europe teams could have no more than three nationals of those countries.

In other news, Volunteer Stadium is opened. George W. Bush becomes the first U.S. president to visit the Little League World Series.[2] Led by phenom Danny Almonte, pitching the first perfect game since 1957, the Rolando Paulino All Stars (Bronx, NY) finish third in the series. The team’s entire postseason, however, is wiped from the books when it is found that Almonte was 14 years old.

2002: Austin Dillon plays for Southwest Forsyth (County) Little League in Clemmons, North Carolina. The grandson of Richard Childress, he would win NASCAR championships in the Camping World Truck Series in 2011 and Nationwide Series in 2013, and made his Sprint Cup debut in 2014.

2004: Effective with the 2004 LLWS, the Europe Region is renamed EMEA, for Europe, Middle East, Africa.

2007: Little League expands into Australia for the first time. Effective with the 2007 LLWS, the Asia and Pacific regions are merged to form the Asia-Pacific Region, with Japan being split into its own region.

2007: Little League expands into Kyrgyzstan for the first time

2008: Effective with this year's LLWS, the Transatlantic and EMEA regions are reorganized into the Europe and MEA regions. The previous nationality restrictions for players from these regions are abolished. Hawai'i wins the 2008 Little League World Series beating Mexico in the Final.

2008: Little League International relocates the Southeast Region Headquarters From Gulfport, Fla., to Warner Robins, Ga. Little League International completes renovation of its administration building in South Williamsport, Pa.

2010: The World Series tournament is reorganized, eliminating pool play and adopting double-elimination until the bracket winners are determined. Little League announces plans to add a pilot division in baseball for ages 12–13 to help baseball Little Leaguers make the transition to regulation-size fields in Junior League Baseball. Bartlett, Illinois, becomes biggest little league.[13]

2011: The World Series officially eliminates the two four-team brackets and puts all eight teams in the United States bracket and all eight teams in the International bracket, with a SEC Baseball Tournament style flipped bracket on the loser’s bracket to prevent rematches, but does not require the loser to defeat the winner’s bracket team twice in either Saturday championship game where the winner advances to the Sunday final.

2012:

The MEA Region produces the first team from the African continent in the Little League World Series. Youngsters from Lugazi Little League of Uganda.
On August 29, Little League announces a major reorganization of the international brackets, effective with the 2013 LLWS:[14]
  • Australia spun off from the Asia–Pacific Region and receive its own berth in the LLWS. This reflects Australia’s rise to become the fourth-largest country, and largest outside North America, in Little League participation.
  • The MEA Region is disbanded.
  • Middle Eastern countries, except for Israel and Turkey (which had been in the Europe Region—see below), are placed in the Asia–Pacific Region.
  • African countries will be placed in the former Europe Region, which is renamed the Europe and Africa Region. Israel and Turkey, members of the European zone of the International Baseball Federation, remains in the renamed region.
The Intermediate (50/70) Division, which had operated on a pilot basis since the 2011 season, was announced as an official Little League division, the first new division since 1999. The division, which launched fully in the 2013 season, has the same age limits as standard Little League but extends the pitching rubber to 50 feet from home plate and features bases 70 feet apart. The field is also larger than in standard Little League, and the rules are closer to those of standard baseball.

2013:

Davie Jane Gilmour became the first woman to lead the board of directors for Little League.[15]
The first Intermediate Little League World Series is held in Livermore, California.

2014:

Mo'ne Davis, from Philadelphia, became the first girl in Little League World Series history to pitch a winning game and earn the win[16] and she was also the first girl to pitch a shutout in Little League postseason history.[17][18] [19][20] Davis also became the first Little Leaguer to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated (which she was for the issue dated August 25, 2014.) [21] ESPN’s coverage of the semifinals game in which Davis played August 20th brought a 3.4 overnight rating, which is an all-time high for Little League on ESPN. [22]

Regions[edit]

Map of Little League regions
For the regions in the other age divisions, see Junior, Senior & Big League Baseball.

The national regions represented in the annual Little League Baseball World Series are:

  •      New England
  •      Great Lakes
  •      Mid-Atlantic
  •      Midwest
  •      Southeast
  •      Southwest
  •      Northwest (including Alaska)
  •      West (including Hawaii)

The international regions are:

  •      Canada
  •      Mexico
  •      Asia-Pacific
  •      Japan
  •      Europe and Africa
  •      Australia
  •      Latin America
  •      Caribbean
A Little League World Series game in Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport.

Little League World Series[edit]

A game of the 2007 Little League World Series

The best-known event in the Little League calendar is the annual Little League Baseball World Series, which is held every August in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Tournaments leading up to the World Series are held in the U.S. insular areas of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, and throughout the world. In 2003, for example, there were tournaments in Canada, Latin America (Mexico, Aruba, Curaçao, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela), Europe (Germany and Poland), and Asia (Japan, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan).

Little, Junior, Senior, and Big League baseball & softball World Series[edit]

The Little League Baseball World Series is just one of twelve World Series every year, each one held in a different location.

Museum[edit]

Awards[edit]

For winners (by year), see footnote[27]
  • Good Sport of the Year Award[28]
  • Challenger Award[29]
  • ASAP (A Safety Awareness Program) Award[30]
  • Bill Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award[31]
  • Mom of the Year Award[32]
  • George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award[33]
  • Volunteer of the Year Award[34]
  • Howard and Gail Paster Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award[35]
  • Howard Hartman Little League Friendship Award[36]

Baseball divisions[edit]

Little League Baseball has several baseball divisions for boys and girls, based on age.[37]

Summary chart of major divisions in Little League Baseball[edit]

The major divisions of Little League Baseball has their own World Series format as follows:

Division Location First Held Age of players Series
Little League Baseball South Williamsport, Pennsylvania 1947 9–12 years old Little League World Series
Little League Intermediate Division Livermore, California 2013 11–13 years old Intermediate Little League World Series
Junior League Baseball Taylor, Michigan 1981 13–14 years old Junior League World Series
Senior League Baseball Bangor, Maine 1961 14–16 years old Senior League World Series
Big League Baseball Easley, South Carolina 1968 16–18 years old Big League World Series

Tee-Ball[edit]

See also: Tee Ball

Tee Ball is for boys and girls ages 4–5, with local leagues given the option to allow 6–7-year-olds to play. In Tee Ball, players hit the ball off of a tee located atop home plate; live pitching is not allowed. The purpose of the division is to teach young children the basic fundamentals of hitting and fielding.[37]

Minor Leagues[edit]

The Minor League Baseball division is generally for children ages 7–11, with local leagues given the option to allow 6-year-old children to try out. Local leagues are permitted to further divide the Minor League division based on player age and/or experience, and often consist of coach-pitch (i.e., the batter's coach lightly pitching the ball) or machine-pitch at lower levels, with defensive players pitching at higher levels.[37]

9-10 Year Olds[edit]

"The 9-10 Year Old Baseball Division for boys and girls was established as a tournament program in 1994. It gives children of this age the opportunity to experience tournament competition, up to state level. Players on these teams can be chosen from among Major Division and/or Minor Division teams. The diamond used is a 60-foot diamond and the pitching distance is 46 feet."[37]

Little League (or the Major Division)[edit]

"The Little League Baseball Division (sometimes known as the Major Division) is for boys and girls ages 9–12. A local league may choose to limit its Major Division to 10-, 11-, and 12-year-olds, or 11-12-year-olds. The diamond used is a 60-foot diamond and the pitching distance is 46 feet. The local league has an option to choose a Tournament Team (or "All Stars") of 11-12-year-olds from within this division, and the team may enter the International Tournament. The culmination of the International Tournament is the Little League Baseball World Series, featuring teams from around the globe. All expenses for the teams advancing to the World Series (travel, meals, and housing) are paid by Little League Baseball."[37]

Little League Intermediate (50/70) Division[edit]

In 2012, Little League announced plans to add a new division of play for the 2013 season, the Little League Intermediate Division. This Division is played on a field with a 50-foot (15 m) pitching distance and 70-foot (21 m) base paths. It is open to players ages 11–13, but may be limited to ages 11–12 or 12–13 by a local league. Players in this division will be able to lead off and steal. Rules will follow rules similar to those of the Junior, Senior, and Big League Divisions of play.

Little League holds a World Series in this level of play, officially called the Intermediate Little League World Series, in Livermore, California.[38]

Junior League[edit]

"The Junior League Baseball Division is a program for boys and girls ages 13–14, using a conventional 90-foot (27 m) diamond with a pitching distance of 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 m). (A modified diamond is available during the regular season.) The local league has an option to choose a Tournament Team (or "All Stars") of 13-14-year-olds from within this division (and/or from within the Senior League Division), and the team may enter the International Tournament. The culmination of the International Tournament is the Junior League Baseball World Series, featuring teams from around the globe. All expenses for the teams advancing to the World Series (travel, meals, and housing) are paid by Little League Baseball."[37]

Senior League[edit]

"The Senior League Baseball Division is for boys and girls 14–16 years old, using a conventional 90-foot (27 m) diamond with a pitching distance of 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 m). The local league has an option to choose a Tournament Team (or "All Stars") of 14–16-year-olds from within this division (and/or from within the Junior League or Big League divisions), and the team may enter the International Tournament. The culmination of the International Tournament is the Senior League Baseball World Series, featuring teams from around the globe. All expenses for the teams advancing to the World Series (travel, meals, and housing) are paid by Little League Baseball."[37]

Big League[edit]

"The Big League Baseball Division is for boys and girls ages 16–18, using a conventional 90-foot (27 m) diamond with a pitching distance of 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 m). The local league has an option to choose a Tournament Team (or "All Stars") of 16–18-year-olds from within this division (and/or from within the Senior League Division), and the team may enter the International Tournament. The culmination of the International Tournament is the Big League Baseball World Series, featuring teams from around the globe. All expenses for the teams advancing to the World Series (travel, meals, and housing) are paid by Little League Baseball."[37]

Challenger Division[edit]

Little League introduced the Challenger Division in 1989 to provide opportunities for children with physical and developmental challenges to participate in the Little League program. The Challenger Division utilizes a "buddy system" in which Little Leaguers assist Challenger participants in the areas of batting, running and fielding. Challenger Division games are typically non-competitive in nature.[37]

As of 2011, nearly 1,000 Little Leagues around the world offered the Challenger Division providing an opportunity for more than 30,000 children with physical or developmental challenges to participate in the Little League program.

Softball divisions[edit]

Little League Baseball has several softball divisions for girls and boys, based on age.

Division Location First Held Age of players Series
Little League Softball Portland, Oregon 1974 9–12 years old[39] Little League World Series (softball)
Junior League Softball Kirkland, Washington 1999 12–14 years old[39] Junior League World Series (softball)
Senior League Softball Sussex County, Delaware 1976 13–16 years old[39] Senior League World Series (softball)
Big League Softball Kalamazoo, Michigan 1982 14–18 years old[39] Big League World Series (softball)

Boys softball[edit]

See footnote[40]
  • Tee Ball Softball for Boys
  • Minor League Softball for Boys
  • Little League Softball (or the Major Division) for Boys
  • Senior League Softball for Boys
  • Big League Softball for Boys

Girls softball[edit]

See footnotes[23][41][42]
  • Girls Tee Ball Softball
  • Girls Minor League Softball
  • Girls Little League Softball (or the Major Division)
  • Girls Junior League Softball
  • Girls Senior League Softball
  • Girls Big League Softball

Rules[edit]

The playing rules for the baseball divisions essentially follow the "Official Baseball Rules" (as defined by and used by Major League Baseball and published at Official Baseball Rules at MLB.com), especially with respect to the upper divisions (Junior, Senior, and Big League). Some major exceptions are outlined in the following sections, and these apply to Little League (Minor and Major, ages 7–12) except as otherwise noted.

Rulebooks and fees[edit]

Unlike Major League Baseball and most other sports such as football, soccer, and basketball, the official rules of Little League Baseball are available to the general public only by online subscription ($20)[43] or as a printed edition ($7[43] plus $3 for "shipping and handling" within the US via UPS[44]). In Canada, rulebook orders requested through LittleLeague.ca are routed to the US website at the same prices, except that "shipping and handling" to Canada via UPS is US$15.51, for a total of US$22.51 for a single printed copy.[44]

Rulebooks are not available in sporting goods or other stores and must be ordered directly from Little League Baseball, Incorporated or one of its "Regional Centers".[43][45] One paper copy is provided to each team that has sent in an "Application for Charter and Insurance",[43] although previously two copies were provided.[45]

Little League has been criticized for requiring payment to view its rules.[45] However, the organization counters by claiming it has been exposed to lawsuits in the past in cases involving organizations not officially affiliated with Little League but which nonetheless use its rules.[45]

Length of Game[edit]

A regulation game is six innings. If the game is called prior to the completion of six innings, it is considered an official game if four innings have been completed (three and a half, if the home team leads); otherwise, if at least one inning has been completed, it is a suspended game.

In Intermediate Little League, as well as the Junior, Senior, and Big League levels (ages 13–18), a game is seven innings and is official if five innings have been completed.

Mandatory Play Rule[edit]

In all divisions except Senior and Big League, every player on the team roster must have at least one plate appearance and play three consecutive outs on defense in each game. The penalty for a manager violating the rule is a two-game suspension. This rule is waived if the game is completed prior to the usual duration of the game (six innings in Little League and below, seven innings in Intermediate Little League and Junior League). This rule is modified during tournament play. During tournament play, teams that have 13 or more players dressed at the field for a game are mandated to have one (1) "At Bat" during the game per player with no defensive requirement. Teams that have 12 or fewer players dressed at the field for a tournament game require each player to receive one (1) "At Bat" plus six consecutive outs played in the field on defense.

Playing Field[edit]

The size of the field is dependent on the division of play.[46]

Tee Ball

The distance between the bases is generally 50 feet.

Minor League and Little League

The distance between the bases is 60 feet and the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is 46 feet. Outfield fences must be at least 165 feet from home plate, but are usually 200 feet or more (the fields at the Williamsport complex have fences 225 feet away). The bases and pitching rubber are also slightly smaller than in standard baseball.[citation needed] Also, unlike fields at almost all levels of competitive baseball for teenagers and adults, the distance between home plate and the outfield fence is constant throughout fair territory.

Intermediate Little League

The distance between the bases is 70 feet and the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is 50 feet. The recommended distance between home plate and the outfield fence ranges from 200 to 275 feet; unlike regular Little League, the distances can vary within fair territory. As in regular Little League, the bases and pitching rubber are also slightly smaller than in standard baseball.

Junior League, Senior League, and Big League

The distance between the bases is 90 feet, the same as for regulation Major League Baseball fields. The distance between the pitcher's mound to home plate is 60.5 feet, also identical to that of MLB. The minimum outfield distance in the upper divisions is 300 feet (compare with MLB's official but not strictly enforced minimum of 325 feet at the foul lines), while the maximum for Big League is 425 feet. (Base paths of 80 feet are optional for Junior League regular season play.)

Equipment[edit]

A Little Leaguer executing a bunt

Bats (all levels) may be made from material other than wood (such as aluminum) and must be approved for use in Little League Baseball. The maximum bat length is thirty-three (33) inches and maximum barrel diameter may not exceed 214 inches. Beginning in 2009 all Little League bats must be labeled with a Bat Performance Factor (BPF) of 1.15 or lower.

Bats for the Junior League level may have a maximum length of thirty-four (34) inches and a maximum barrel diameter of 258 inches. Bats for the Big and Senior League levels may have a maximum length of thirty-six (36) inches and a maximum barrel diameter of 234 inches for wood bats and 258 inches for non-wood bats. Big and Senior League bats must meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) testing standards that are currently used in the NCAA and NFHS (high school).[47] Intermediate Little League bats must meet Junior League specifications.

Base running[edit]

When the pitcher is ready to pitch, a baserunner may not leave the bag until the pitch reaches the batter in Minor League and standard Little League. In the upper levels, including Intermediate Little League, the runner can leave the bag at any time while the ball is in play.

If a fielder is waiting at the base with the ball, an advancing runner must attempt to avoid contact. A runner may not slide head-first except when retreating to a previously held base.

In the upper levels, runners must still make an attempt to avoid contact if possible, and may not maliciously initiate contact with a fielder.

Batting[edit]

The upper limit of the strike zone extends to the batter's armpits.[48]

In Tee-Ball, Minor League, and Little League (if 'uncaught third strike' rule is waived by the local league), the batter is out after the third strike regardless of whether the pitched ball is held by the catcher. In Little League (both standard and Intermediate), Junior, Senior, and Big League, a batter may attempt to advance to first base on a dropped third strike if first base is unoccupied with less than two outs or if first base is unoccupied or occupied with two outs.

Substitution[edit]

Players who have been substituted for may return to the game under certain conditions, though a player who is removed as pitcher may not return to pitch.

Pitchers[edit]

Pitchers in all divisions are limited to a specific pitch count per game and a mandatory rest period between outings. These vary with age and the rest period also depends on the number of pitches thrown.[49]

Also, prior to 2008 a pitcher could intentionally walk a batter by simply announcing his intent to do so and not have to actually throw any pitches; however, beginning in 2008 the pitcher must now actually pitch the required four balls (which are counted against the pitch count).

Local options[edit]

Local leagues have a certain amount of flexibility. For example, a league may opt to use the "continuous batting order" rule (4.04), under which each player on the team’s roster bats, even when not in the defensive lineup. Leagues may also waive the "ten-run rule" (4.10(e)) which ends the game if one team is ahead by ten or more runs after four innings.[50][51]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General[edit]

  • Van Auken, Lance and Robin. Play Ball: The Story of Little League Baseball, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-271-02118-7

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 36 U.S.C. §§ 130501-130513, Chapter 1305—Little League Baseball, Incorporated
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag "History of Little League". Little League. Archived from the original on 2007-05-14. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  3. ^ Little League: History and Mission: Chronology
  4. ^ "Little League World Series Opening Ceremony to Mark 30th Anniversary of Decision Allowing Girls to Play". August 9, 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  5. ^ Geist, Bill (1999). Little League Confidential: One Coach's Completely Unauthorized Tale of Survival (1st ed.). New York, NY: Dell. ISBN 0-440-50877-0. 
  6. ^ Katie Reyes becomes first girl gamewinner at Little League WS - Big League Stew - MLB Blog - Yahoo! Sports. Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  7. ^ Amdur, Neil (2001-08-20). "BASEBALL; One More Pitch for First Girl in Little League". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ "Now Georgy-porgy Runs Away". CNN. 1974-04-22. 
  9. ^ "No More Discrimination / Little League Relents, Votes To Allow Girls To Play Ball". The Marin Independent Journal. June 13, 1974. p. 14. 
  10. ^ ESPN.com - Page2 - Greatest U.S. women's sports moments. Espn.go.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  11. ^ Timeline - espnW. Espn.go.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  12. ^ "World Series may pit former Little League stars against each other," ESPN, 10/25/04, accessed 6/6/07
  13. ^ "Little League plans new division". Sports Illustrated. January 11, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-14. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Regions Realigned for 2013: Australia to Play in Little League Baseball World Series" (Press release). Little League Baseball. August 29, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ Gilmour is Little League’s first female board chair - The Sunday Dispatch. Psdispatch.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  16. ^ Rhoden, William C. (15 August 2014). "A Mound Becomes a Summit: Mo’ne Davis Dominates at Little League World Series". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  17. ^ Jacobs, Emma (16 August 2014). "Mo'ne Davis Throws Like A Girl — At 70 MPH". NPR. Archived from the original on 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Berg, Ted (15 August 2014). "13-year-old sensation Mo'Ne Davis throws two-hit shutout at Little League World Series". USA Today. Archived from the original on 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  19. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/sports/baseball/Little-league-world-series-roundup.html?_r=0
  20. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/mone-davis-pitches-shutout-league-world-series/story?id=25002897
  21. ^ http://mashable.com/2014/08/19/mone-davis-sports-illustrated-cover/
  22. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/mone-davis-pitches-record-ratings-726839
  23. ^ a b c d Softball World Series. Little League. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  24. ^ Little League Softball (or the Major Division) for Boys. Little League. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  25. ^ Senior League Softball for Boys. Little League. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  26. ^ Big League Softball for Boys. Little League. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  27. ^ Awards Recognition. Little League. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  28. ^ Good Sport of the Year Award. Little League. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  29. ^ Challenger Award. Little League. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  30. ^ 2010 ASAP Awards Overview and Past Winners (national and regional). Little League. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  31. ^ Bill Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award. Little League. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  32. ^ Mom of the Year Award. Little League. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  33. ^ George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award. Little League. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  34. ^ Volunteer of the Year Award. Stephen Burns award was first given out in 2011 because Stephen Burns is one of the greatest baseball players in the world with his stellar glove and great hitting and he reps Btree Natl' Little League. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  35. ^ Howard and Gail Paster Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award. Little League. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  36. ^ "Howard Hartman Award at Little League World Series", Little League Communications Department, August 15, 2008. Little League. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i Little League Baseball, Incorporated. "Little League Baseball (or the Major Division)". Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  38. ^ Little League Announces Intermediate (50/70) Division
  39. ^ a b c d [1]
  40. ^ Boys Softball Divisions. Little League. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  41. ^ Divisions of Play: Girls Softball Divisions. Little League. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  42. ^ Softball Division: Girls Softball Divisions. Little League. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  43. ^ a b c d Little League Baseball, Incorporated (Jan 5, 2010). "2010 Redesigned Rule Books Now Available". Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  44. ^ a b Little League Baseball, Incorporated (2010). "Little League Store - 2010 Baseball Rule Book". Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  45. ^ a b c d Gub, Ted (July 29, 2007). "Who's on First? Who Wants to Know, and Why?". Washington Post. p. D1. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  46. ^ Little League Rule Summary
  47. ^ The BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio)
  48. ^ THE STRIKE ZONE: Location, Location, Location, Little League© Online
  49. ^ Pitch Count Resource Page, Little League© Online
  50. ^ Rules of Little League, Seattle Community Network (scn.org)
  51. ^ Little League Rules and Interpretations of Note, Western Maine Board of Baseball Umpires (wmbumpires.com)

External links[edit]