Amateur baseball in the United States

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Cherry pickers playing baseball at an orchard work camp in Door County, Wisconsin, July 1940

Amateur baseball is baseball in which the players either are not paid for playing, or (as in Town Team Baseball) receive only a modest stipend or employment arranged by the team's boosters. Amateur baseball is played in the United States by players of all ages, from young children to adults.


Leagues for various skill levels and age groups exist throughout the US. In ascending order of age participation, here are a few examples:

Youth baseball[edit]

Grafton High School, Wisconsin, baseball team. Batter at the plate.

Youth baseball is played by elementary-school-age and high-school-age children of both genders. Of the various leagues listed below, Little League baseball is the most widespread. The Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, draws participants from around the world and is televised in the US on ESPN.

National Youth Baseball Championship[edit]

See footnote[4]

The first annual National Youth Baseball Championships (NYBC) tournament was held in August 2008 for players in two divisions: 10U and 12U.[5][6] The purpose of the tournament is to recognize one team as the "National Youth Baseball Champion."[5][6] The tournament organizer is the Major Youth Baseball Alliance, LLC, which was formed by eight major national youth baseball organizations, whose programs have more than eight million participants.[5][6] The eight organizations are: AABC (American Amateur Baseball Congress), AAU (Amateur Athletic Union of the United States), Babe Ruth Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, NABF (National Amateur Baseball Federation), Pony Baseball, Super Series Baseball of America, and USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association).[5][6]

  • 12U Youth Majors NYB champions: Team Rattlers (Spring, Texas)[10] (Super Series)[11]
  • 10U Youth Majors NYB champions: N. Texas Bulldogs[12] (AAU)[13]

National all-stars tournament[edit]

From 1998 (or earlier) through 2010 (or later), there has been an annual, national all-stars tournament each June — the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars; its predecessor was the National Amateur All-Star Baseball Tournament (NAABT). The tournament features the top 16- to 18-year-old players from various baseball organizations, including the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), American Legion, Babe Ruth Baseball, Dixie Baseball, National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF), PONY baseball, Major League Baseball's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), and at-large teams from USA Baseball (the governing body of amateur baseball).[20]

School baseball[edit]

School baseball is played throughout the United States. High schools often have freshman, junior-varsity, and varsity teams. Some middle schools offer baseball programs.

In the 2014-15 season, 486,567 boys and 1,203 girls played baseball at the National Federation of State High School Associations.[21]

American Legion Baseball[edit]

American Legion Baseball is popular with junior-high- and senior-high-school students from ages 13 to 19. American Legion also provides regional, state, and national playoffs.

College baseball[edit]

College baseball is sanctioned by the NCAA, NAIA, and NCBA.

College baseball players, especially professional prospects, often also play in collegiate summer baseball leagues during the off-season. In these leagues, their lodging and meals are provided by their host team, but no money changes hands.

Many collegiate summer baseball leagues are affiliated to the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball, National Amateur Baseball Federation or the National Baseball Congress. The MLB Draft League debuted in 2021.

Alma, Colorado amateur baseball team, 1899 (Park County Local History Digital Archive)

Adult baseball[edit]

International level[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Cal Ripken World Series tournament includes sixteen teams: 10 from the United States (by way of their respective tournaments) and 6 from outside the U.S. (by way of invitation from the Babe Ruth League). The U.S. champion and the International champion meet in the final game, for the world title. At Ripken Baseball official website Archived 2011-04-17 at the Wayback Machine, go to "Amateur Baseball" and click on "Cal Ripken World Series". Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  2. ^ Cal Ripken, Jr. Archived 2011-08-28 at the Wayback Machine. Babe Ruth League official website. Retrieved 2011-09-05. "... the Cal Ripken World Series ... includes 15 teams of 11 and 12 year olds from all over the world and crowns the champion of the Cal Ripken Division of Babe Ruth League, Inc."
  3. ^ In 1999, the Babe Ruth League changed its largest division's name to "Cal Ripken Baseball" (from "Bambino"). History: About Ripken Baseball Archived 2011-09-01 at the Wayback Machine. Ripken Baseball official website. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  4. ^ Home page. Retrieved 2011-08-10
  5. ^ a b c d About Us. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  6. ^ a b c d National Youth Baseball Championship. Weplay, Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  7. ^ "Juice 12's dominate 12U championship: Orlando team avenged pool play loss against SE Lexington". August 24, 2008. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ... at Gameday Baseball's First Tennessee Fields in Memphis.
  8. ^ a b 2008 NYBC Archive. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  9. ^ Gonzalez, Alden (August 23, 2008). "Tomateros crowned 10-and-under kings: Late-inning rally makes youngsters National Youth champs". Retrieved 2011-09-07. ... at Gameday Baseball's First Tennessee Fields in Memphis.
  10. ^ Britton, Tim (August 30, 2009). "U-12 Rattlers run away with NYBC title: Texas squad dominates opponents to win championship". MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ... at Mark Neel Field in Memphis, Tenn.
  11. ^ Go to 2009 NYBC: 12U Schedule & Results and click on "12U Schedule & Results". Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  12. ^ Grodsky, Jason (August 29, 2009). "N. Texas, Dallas off to U-10 title game: Harris' walk-off homer makes comeback winner of Bulldogs". MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ... in Cordova, Tenn.
  13. ^ Go to 2009 NYBC: 10U Schedule & Results and click on "10U Schedule & Results". Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  14. ^ Miller, Doug. Youth Baseball Championships under way. August 27, 2010. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2010-08-10.
  15. ^ AAU wins NYBC Championship, 2-1 (video). August 30, 2010. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2010-08-10.
  16. ^ Sanchez, Jesse (August 28, 2011). "Texas squad captures National Youth crown". MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ... at Mark Neel Field in Memphis, Tenn.
  17. ^ Go to 2011 NYBC: 12U Schedule and click on "12 Schedule". Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  18. ^ Miller, Doug (August 28, 2011). "Stingrays win U-10 YMNYB Championship". MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ... at Campbell Clinic Field in Memphis, Tenn.
  19. ^ Go to 2011 NYBC: 10U Schedule and click on "10U Schedule". Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  20. ^ History of RBI. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  21. ^ "2014–15 High School Athletics Participation Survey" (PDF). National Federation of State High School Associations. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 6, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.

External links[edit]