American Legion Baseball
|No. of teams||3,786 (2016)|
|Most titles||Cincinnati, OH Post 50 (7)|
|TV partner(s)||ESPN3, ESPNU|
American Legion Baseball is a variety of amateur baseball played by 13-19 year olds in fifty states in the USA and Canada. More than 3,500 teams participate each year. The American Legion Department of South Dakota established the program in 1925 at Milbank, South Dakota.
The league still stands behind the traditional values upon which it was founded in 1925. American Legion Baseball has taught hundreds of thousands of young Americans the importance of sportsmanship, good health and active citizenship. The program is also a promoter of equality, making teammates out of young athletes regardless of their income levels or social standings.
Community service has always been a core value of The American Legion. In 1925, this commitment was furthered to include a baseball program.
The first American Legion Baseball World Series was held in Philadelphia in 1926. Yonkers, N.Y, Post 321 beat a team from Pocatello, Idaho, capping off what appeared to be a successful first season.
The league, however, hit a few growing pains in its second year. In 1927, the Legion's national convention convened in Paris. With the organization's financial coffers stretched thin from the trip's expenses, the Legion couldn't fund a World Series. No champion was named and the future of American Legion Baseball looked bleak, as the inaugural season wound up costing more than originally planned.
But the Legion's Americanism director, Dan Sowers, worked to keep the league afloat. The tournament format needed $50,000, and Sowers was determined to raise it. Early in 1928, he went to an executive meeting for professional baseball, hoping to reach a sympathetic ear. He found one in Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who pledged a $50,000 annual donation from Major League Baseball. Legion Baseball resumed in 1928, and by 1929 participants were coming from every state and the District of Columbia.
Major League Baseball and American Legion Baseball don't have a formal partnership, but the two owe each other a tremendous debt of gratitude. MLB has sponsored Legion Baseball almost since its inception, and Legion Baseball has returned the favor, churning out major league prospects since the alumni base has been old enough to be scouted.
Hall of Fame Alumni
- 1962 – Bob Feller, P
- 1966 – Ted Williams, OF
- 1968 – Joe Medwick, OF
- 1969 – Stan Musial, OF/1B; Roy Campanella, CF
- 1970 – Lou Boudreau, SS
- 1972 – Yogi Berra, C; Early Wynn, P
- 1973 -- Warren Spahn, P
- 1975 – Ralph Kiner, OF
- 1976 -- Robin Roberts, P; Bob Lemon, P
- 1978 – Eddie Mathews, 3B
- 1980 -- Al Kaline, OF
- 1981 -- Bob Gibson, P
- 1982 -- Frank Robinson, OF
- 1983 – George Kell, 3B, Brooks Robinson, 3B
- 1984 – Don Drysdale, P; Harmon Killebrew, 1B/3B; Pee Wee Reese, SS
- 1985 – Hoyt Wilhelm, P
- 1986 -- Bobby Doerr, 2B
- 1987 – Jim "Catfish" Hunter, P
- 1988 -- Willie Stargell, OF
- 1989 – Johnny Bench, C; Carl Yastrzemski, OF/1B
- 1990 – Joe Morgan, 2B; Jim Palmer, P
- 1991 – Gaylord Perry, P
- 1992 – Rollie Fingers, P; Hal Newhouser, P; Tom Seaver, P
- 1993 – Reggie Jackson, OF
- 1994 – Steve Carlton, P
- 1995 – Richie Ashburn, OF
- 1996 – Jim Bunning, P; Earl Weaver, manager
- 1997 – Phil Niekro, P; Nellie Fox, 2B
- 1999 – George Brett, 3B; Robin Yount, SS/OF
- 2000 – Sparky Anderson, manager; Carlton Fisk, C
- 2001 – Dave Winfield, OF
- 2003 – Gary Carter, C; Eddie Murray, 1B
- 2004 – Paul Molitor, SS
- 2005 – Ryne Sandberg, 2B; Wade Boggs, 3B
- 2006 – Bruce Sutter, P
- 2007 – Tony Gwynn, OF
- 2008 – Dick Williams, manager
- 2009 – Joe Gordon, 2B; Jim Rice, OF
- 2010 – Whitey Herzog, manager; Doug Harvey, umpire
- 2011 – Roberto Alomar, 2B; Bert Blyleven, P; Pat Gillick, administrator
- 2012 – Ron Santo, 3B; Barry Larkin, SS
- 2014 – Bobby Cox, manager; Tom Glavine, P; Tony LaRussa, manager; Greg Maddux, P; Joe Torre, manager
- 2015 – Mike Piazza, C
- 2016 - Tim Raines, OF; Jeff Bagwell, 1B
- 2017 - Jeff Bagwell, 1B; Tim Raines, OF
Other Prominent American Legion Alumni
- Jackie Bradley, Jr.
- Alex Bregman
- Kris Bryant
- Madison Bumgarner
- Roger Clemens
- Jacob deGrom
- Brian Dozier
- Todd Frazier
- Alex Gordon
- Bryce Harper
- Matt Holliday
- Chipper Jones
- Craig Kimbrel
- Wil Myers
- Rick Porcello
- Albert Pujols
- Max Scherzer
- Corey Seager
- Gary Sheffield
- Mark Teixeria
- Justin Verlander
- Michael Wacha
In 2011, Shelby, North Carolina was named the permanent home of the American Legion World Series after decades of rotating venues for the event.
The format of the tournament for the eight teams involves separating into two pools and playing round robin within that pool from Thursday to Sunday. The top seed in each pool plays the runner-up in the other pool in the semifinals on Monday, with the two teams advancing to a one-game championship on Tuesday.
With games set at Keeter Stadium on the campus of Shelby High School, the local community has rallied around the event, turning it into a lengthy celebration including the Seventh Inning Stretch festival in Uptown Shelby the Saturday prior to the World Series, a Commander's Reception the Tuesday before the event and a Parade of Champions the night prior to the first game.
Attendance has swelled over the length of the tenure in Shelby, setting event records every year.
- 2011 - 86,162
- 2012 - 101,925
- 2013 - 104,726
- 2014 - 110,036
- 2015 - 117,072
- 2016 - 120,000
- 1926-Yonkers, NY 321
- 1927-NO NATIONAL TOURNAMENT
- 1928-Oakland, CA 5
- 1929-Buffalo, NY 721
- 1930-Baltimore, MD 81
- 1931-Chicago, IL 493
- 1932-New Orleans, LA
- 1933-Chicago, IL
- 1934-Cumberland, MD 13
- 1935-Gastonia, NC 23
- 1936-Spartanburg, SC 28
- 1937-East Lynn, MA 291
- 1938-San Diego, CA 6
- 1939-Omaha, NE 1
- 1940-Albemarle, NC 76
- 1941-San Diego, CA 6
- 1942-Los Angeles, CA 357
- 1943-Richfield, MN 435
- 1944-Cincinnati, OH 50
- 1945-Shelby, NC 82
- 1946-New Orleans, LA 125
- 1947-Cincinnati, OH 50
- 1948-Trenton, NJ 93
- 1949-Oakland, CA 337
- 1950-Oakland, CA 337
- 1951-Los Angeles, CA 715
- 1952-Cincinnati, OH 50
- 1953-Yakima, WA 36-
- 1954-San Diego, CA 492
- 1955-Cincinnati, OH 216
- 1956-St. Louis, MO 245
- 1957-Cincinnati, OH 50
- 1958-Cincinnati, OH 50
- 1959-Detroit, MI 187
- 1960-New Orleans, LA 125
- 1961-Phoenix, AZ 1
- 1962-St. Louis, MO 299
- 1963-Long Beach, CA 27
- 1964-Upland, CA 73
- 1965-Charlotte, NC 9
- 1966-Oakland, CA 337
- 1967-Tuscaloosa, AL 34
- 1968-Memphis, TN 1
- 1969-Portland, OR 105
- 1970-West Covina, CA 790
- 1971-West Covina, CA 790
- 1972-Ballwin, MO 611
- 1973-Rio Piedras, PR 146
- 1974-Rio Piedras, PR 146
- 1975-Yakima, WA 36
- 1976-Santa Monica, CA 123
- 1977-South Bend, IN 50
- 1978-Hialeah, FL 32
- 1979-Yakima, WA 36
- 1980-Honolulu, HI
- 1981-West Tampa, FL 248
- 1982-Boyertown, PA 471
- 1983-Edina, MN 471
- 1984-Guaynabo, PR 134
- 1985-Midlothian, VA 186
- 1986-Jensen Beach, FL 126
- 1987-Boyertown, PA 471
- 1988-Cincinnati, OH 507
- 1989-Woodland Hills, CA 826
- 1990-Mayo, MD 226
- 1991-Brooklawn, NJ 72
- 1992-Newbury Park, CA
- 1993-Rapid City, SD 22
- 1994-Miami, FL 346
- 1995-Bellevue WA lakeside ( no post)
- 1996-Yardley, PA 317
- 1997-Sanford, FL Post 53
- 1998-Edwardsville, IL Post 199
- 1999-New Brighton, MN Post 513
- 2000-Danville, CA Post 246
- 2001-Brooklawn, NJ Post 72
- 2002-West Point, MS Post 212
- 2003-Rochester, MN Post 92
- 2004-Portland, ME
- 2005-Enid, OK Post 4
- 2006-Metairie, LA Post 175
- 2007-Columbia, TN Post 19
- 2008-Las Vegas, NV Post 76
- 2009-Midland, MI
- 2010-Midwest City, OK Post 170
- 2011-Eden Prairie, MN
- 2012-New Orleans, LA Post 125
- 2013-Brooklawn, NJ post 72
- 2014-Brooklawn, NJ post 72
- 2015-Chapin-Newberry, SC Post 193
- 2016-Texarkana, AR Post 58
State, Sectional and Regional tournaments
- Regional tournaments
- All 50 state champions, eight host sites, and the runners up from the six states with the most teams enrolled advance to the regional tournaments.
- Region 1 - Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island
- Region 2 - Mid-Atlantic: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia
- Region 3 - Southeast: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia
- Region 4 - Mid-South: Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas
- Region 5 - Great Lakes: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin
- Region 6 - Central Plains: Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
- Region 7 - Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming
- Region 8 - Western: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Hawaii
- American Legion Graduate of the Year: "A Major League Baseball player, who is an American Legion Baseball alumnus, is honored each year with the American Legion Graduate of the Year award. The award recognizes character, leadership, playing abilities and community service."
- George W. Rulon Player of the Year: "The award is based on integrity, mental attitude, cooperation, citizenship, sportsmanship, scholastic aptitude and general good conduct."
- American Legion Batting Champion: Awarded "to the player with the highest batting average during national competition." (previously sponsored by Louisville Slugger)
- American Legion Big Stick Award: Presented "to the player who rounds the most bases in regional and national competition." (previously sponsored by Rawlings)
- Dr. Irvin L. "Click" Cowger RBI Memorial Award: Awarded to the player who "is credited with the most runs batted in at the regional tournament and World Series."
- Bob Feller Pitching Award: Presented to the pitcher "with the most strikeouts in regional and national competition."
- James F. Daniel Jr. Memorial Sportsmanship Award: Presented "to a player who participates in the Legion World Series and best embodies the principles of good sportsmanship."
- Jack Williams Memorial Leadership Award: Presented by "the Department of North Dakota ... to the manager and coach of the national championship team as outstanding representatives of adult leadership."
I Will Keep The Rules.
I Will Keep Faith with my Teammates.
I Will Keep my Temper.
I Will Keep myself Fit.
I Will Keep a Stout Heart in Defeat.
I Will Keep my Pride under in Victory.
I Will Keep a Sound Soul, a Clean Mind, & a Healthy Body.
- Amateur baseball in the United States
- Baseball awards § U.S. youth baseball
- South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame
- National Baseball Site. American Legion Baseball official website.
- Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; League History. The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- History of American Legion Baseball. American Legion Baseball official website. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- "68th Legion Baseball alum elected into Hall of Fame". The American Legion. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; Baseball Alumni. The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Famous American Legion Baseball Alumni. American Legion Baseball official website. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- The American Legion World Series website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; World Series. The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; Past National Champions; "American Legion Baseball National Champions" (1926–present) (pages 1-3). The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Senior teams are eligible to compete in national tournaments and the World Series. Go to Tournament Rules and Policies and scroll down to Page 3 ("TOURNAMENT RULES", at paragraph 1). American Legion Baseball official website. Retrieved 2011-08-11.[dead link]
- Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; Regional Tournaments. The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Tournaments; Regional. The American Legion World Series website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Regional Tournaments. American Legion Baseball official website. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; State Tournaments. The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- State Tournaments. American Legion Baseball official website. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- "Brooklawn Baseball".
- For the sectional champions (1926–1935), go to Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; Past National Champions; "American Legion Baseball National Champions", scroll down to page 3 ("Sectional Champions") and then scroll down to bottom half of page 4 (1926–1935; Western Sectional Champions in left-hand column and Eastern Sectional Champions in right-hand column). The "sectional" (regional) champions for 1937–1959 are on page 3 and the top half of page 4. The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- For the regional champions (1960–present), go to Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; Past National Champions; "American Legion Baseball National Champions" and scroll down to page 5 ("Regional Champions") (1960–present). The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; Awards. The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Baseball Awards. American Legion Baseball official website. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- American Legion Player of the Year (1949–present). Baseball-Almanac. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
- Programs; Family and Youth; Baseball; All-Academic Team. The American Legion official website. Retrieved 2014-06-04.