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Babe Ruth League is a youth baseball program. The organization's headquarters are on Lawrence Township, New Jersey, United States.

In 1951, a group of men dedicated to the youth of America met in a suburb of Trenton, New Jersey, and formed what became the very first Babe Ruth League. This group of men eventually agreed to name Marius D. Bonacci as the “founder” of the program which was initially registered under the name Little Bigger League. The program was renamed in 1954 when Claire Ruth, Babe Ruth’s widow, who had learned of the merits of the organization and its tremendous growth, met with the administrators. She subsequently gave the organization permission to change its name to Babe Ruth League. She has been quoted as saying, “Babe Ruth was a man who loved children and baseball; he could receive no greater tribute than to have a youth baseball program named after him.” [1]

Program spreads nationally[edit]

Babe Ruth League, Inc. caught on nationally, then internationally. It now ranks as one of the premier amateur baseball and softball programs in the world; however it still greatly trails Little League Baseball in participation and volunteerism.

Babe Ruth League, Inc. has increased steadily from its first 10-team league in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey, to its present combined size of over 1,035,123 players on some 56,622 teams in more than 9,113 leagues.

The success of the Baseball and Softball program is due to the millions of volunteer hours spent every year. Every volunteer, from the local League Manager to the Chairman of the 17-member International Board, is dedicated to the betterment of youth, while at the same time producing better players. [1]

Management of International Operation[edit]

A five-member Executive Staff, assisted by Regional Service Representatives, maintains Babe Ruth's International Headquarters at 1770 Brunswick Pike in the suburban Trenton community of Lawrence Township.

Local leagues are independent within the guidelines provided by Babe Ruth League International Board.

The Babe Ruth International Board is the governing body while Babe Ruth Headquarters is the administrative and promotional center.

Age Divisions Established[edit]

It is the 13-15 Division, started in 1951, where the players get their baseball feet wet for the first time under regulations and rules on standard diamonds. Each chartered league is eligible to enter a team in tournament competition. District winners go into statewide competition with that successful club qualifying for one of eight regional tourneys. This division's first World Series was held in 1952.

The next stop in the baseball ladder for young players is the Babe Ruth 16-18 division, born in 1966 and showing remarkable growth and success. Teams follow a similar route as their 13-15 counterparts with the highlights of the campaign being the 16-18 World Series, which was first held in 1968. This series has gained the attention of Major League Scouts from all 30 clubs.

In 1974 the 13-year-Old Prep League was added with the first 13-year-Old World Series being held in 1980. In 1982, Babe Ruth Baseball added yet a third division to its program - the Bambino Division. In 1982, the Bambino Division expanded to all existing areas of the Babe Ruth program. It was a huge success as the division tripled in size from the number of teams that participated in a test pilot program in 1981.

Starting in 1983, each of the eight Babe Ruth Baseball regions offered Bambino tournament competition up to the regional level of play, with the first World Series being held in 1984.

First Babe Ruth League Alumni into Baseball Hall of Fame[edit]

In 1989, Carl Yastrzemski was inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first Babe Ruth graduate to attain this honor. [2]

First Babe Ruth World Series organized[edit]

In 1994, Babe Ruth Baseball organized its First World Series for 16-year-old players. Carmel, Indiana was the host of the first 16-Year-Old World Series.

Babe Ruth League added another dimension to its program in 1984 - a Softball Division designed for girls. The Softball Division is open to Babe Ruth League's current age groupings from 4 to 18.

The Softball Division was organized because Babe Ruth League recognized a need for softball on the girls' level and a desire for affiliation with an established national program.

The Babe Ruth Baseball/Softball program, above all, is of, by and for youth. It especially tries to make better citizens through proper supervision of regulation competitive baseball/softball in addition to promoting mental and physical development. In adopting rules, in establishing standards and in all planning, the primary consideration is the welfare of the participants. [1]

In 2000 the 5 to 12-year-old divisions previously known as the Bambino Division was renamed Cal Ripken Baseball, a Division of Babe Ruth League, Inc. [2]

Unlike other leagues, Babe Ruth allows you to put together your own all-star teams to enter in the world series. All you need to do is pay the charter fee and then you are free to put together any type of team you see fit as long as they meet the age requirements. The downside of such a policy is a lack of parity in the Babe Ruth tournament and the pressure that can be placed on children as they may have to decide which all-star team they wish to participate with. Other programs select all star teams from geographical boundaries which creates parity and takes extra players off of the youth participants. Teams like the "Raw Dawgs" from Alabama have been doing this for years with a great deal of success. One notable exception is the 2007 14U Babe Ruth World Series champions, the Hamilton Huskies team from Chandler, AZ. The Hamilton team won their state championship, regional chamtionship and then the world series championship with the same roster that they had during their regular season, all boys that had committed to go to Hamilton High School.

Also,another exception was in the 2007 13 year old world series, the team from Hopewell Valley, New Jersey had all 12 of its players from their small town where only 14 kids tried out. This team had great success in winning their district, state, and regional tournaments without a loss.

External links[edit]