Little League Baseball, Incorporated is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "to promote, develop, supervise, and voluntarily assist in all lawful ways, the interest of those who will participate in Little League Baseball and Softball."
Through proper guidance and exemplary leadership, the Little League program assists youth in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being. By espousing the virtues of character, courage and loyalty, the Little League Baseball and Softball program is designed to develop superior citizens rather than superior athletes.
Founded in 1939; granted Federal Charter July 16, 1964, by unanimous act of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States of America and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as Public Law 88-378, 88th Congress H.R. 9234, and amended December 26, 1974, Public Law 93-551, 93rd Congress, H.R. 8864. Little League is tax exempt.
The Little League Pledge was written by Peter J. McGovern, the late president of Little League Baseball, in 1954. It made its first appearance in the February 1955 “Little Leaguer” magazine. Its text has remained unchanged in the half-century since then.
The Little League Pledge was drafted after Mr. McGovern became aware that local Little League programs were reciting the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance before games. Mr. McGovern wanted to give all leagues (not just those in the United States) a pledge reflecting some of the sentiments of the Pledge of Allegiance, minus the references to the U.S., while adding the elements of sportsmanship and the desire to excel.
The text of the Little League Pledge was sent to U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Feb. 22, 1955. President Eisenhower (and every president since then) was a strong supporter of Little League.
In a response by letter to Mr. McGovern a few days later, President Eisenhower said: “Thank you for…sending me the inspiring and fine pledge that, I understand, will now be repeated at the start of the Little League Baseball games. I am always glad to hear the plans and activities of Little League.”
A recitation of the Little League Pledge is led by President George W. Bush before Tee Ball on the South Lawn games at the White House. President Bush first recited the Little League Pledge in 1955 as a Little Leaguer in Midland, Texas.
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best
Today, local Little League programs sometimes choose to recite the Little League Pledge at the start of the season, and some recite it before every game. It is printed on the backs of the Little League rule books. Some local leagues also choose to play or sing the National Anthem of the country in which the game is played. Others may add a prayer to ceremonies.
Whether to recite the Little League Pledge, play or sing the National Anthem, or say a prayer, is entirely up to the local league's board of directors. While many local leagues and districts include a recitation of the Little League Pledge in ceremonies, it is not, and has never been, required to be recited by any person involved with Little League Baseball or Softball.
Little League Foundation
Little League Baseball and Softball are supported in part by the Little League Foundation, chartered in 1955. The foundation's purpose is to guide the long-range ambitions of the program and to provide financial integrity for the Little League movement. Much of the support for Little League operations is provided though the workings of the foundation.
The Little League Foundation is administered by the Board of Trustees of which Howard Paster of Washington, D.C., is president, Dr. Creighton J. Hale of Williamsport, Pa., is Senior Vice President, and Stephen D. Keener of Williamsport is Vice President/Secretary.
Mr. Paster is executive vice president, public relations/public affairs, at WPP Group, and was previously chairman and chief executive officer of Hill & Knowlton, Inc. He joined the WPP parent company in August 2002, overseeing WPP's portfolio of public relations and public affairs businesses. Prior to joining Hill & Knowlton, he served as assistant to President Bill Clinton and director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. He is a member of the board of trustees of Tuskegee University, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Some past trustees of the Little League Foundation are Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Walter O'Malley, William A. “Bill” Shea, Jack Kent Cooke, and Lawrence Welk.
Current trustees of the Little League Foundation also include:
Neil Austrian, Old Greenwich, Conn.
Barton K. Boyd, Burbank, Calif.
Jane Forbes Clark, New York
Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., New York
Joe P. Crookham, Oskaloosa, Iowa
Peter G. Diamandis, Greenwich, Conn.
Ann Meyers Drysdale, Huntington Beach, Calif.
John Grisham, Charlottesville, Va.
Eric M. Hilton, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Bowie Kuhn, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Dennis Lewin, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Arte Moreno, Phoenix, Ariz.
Peter O'Malley, Los Angeles
Iris Raiford, New York
Jin Roy Ryu, Seoul, Korea
Tom Seaver, Calistoga, Calif.
Dr. Louis Sullivan, Atlanta
George F. Will, Washington, D.C.
Fred Wilpon, Great Neck, N.Y.
Little League Chronology
1938 - Williamsport, PA, resident Carl E. Stotz gathers neighborhood children during the summer and devises the first rules and field dimensions for his planned boys baseball program.
1939 - Little League Baseball is founded by Carl Stotz, who enlists help from others in the community. Mr. Stotz, George Bebble and Bert Bebble are the first three managers. ... A $30 donation is sufficient to purchase uniforms for each of the first three teams, named after their sponsors: Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber, and Jumbo Pretzel. … The first season is played in a vacant lot near the outfield fence of Bowman Field.
1940 - A new playing site is used near the original field. … A second league is formed in Williamsport, modeled on Carl Stotz's pilot program. … Rosters are limited by guidelines limiting the area from which the leagues can draw players, a process that continues today.
1941 - The need for workers and war materiels slow the growth of Little League as the nation prepares for war. The field is taken over for war production, and the operation of “Original Little League” moves to Max M. Brown Memorial Park.
1942 - The “keystone” logo of Little League is created by Carl Stotz and becomes the symbol for Little League Baseball. … Ed Yonkin pitches the first no-hitter in Little League history, leading Lundy Lumber over Stein's Service. 1943 - A home run fence is added to Original Little League Field. Until that time, all home runs were “inside-the-park.” 1944 - Carl Stotz receives a draft notice. However, the draft regulations are soon revised, and he remains in Williamsport.
1945 - Mac McCloskey builds the world's first remote-controlled electronic scoreboard for Original Little League Field. … A game at Original Little League in Williamsport is suspended, Aug. 14, 1945, after it is announced at the field that World War II has ended.
1946 - Little League Baseball expands to 12 leagues, all in Pennsylvania. 1947 - The Hammonton, NJ, boasts having the first Little League outside of Pennsylvania. ... The first Little League World Series (known then as the National Little League Tournament) is won by the Maynard Midgets of Williamsport. ... Allen "Sonny" Yearick, who played in the first Little League game for Lycoming Dairy in 1939, is the first Little League graduate to play professional ball in the Boston Braves organization.
1948 - Little League grows to ninety-four leagues. ... Lock Haven, PA, wins the second Little League World Series, defeating a team from St. Petersburg, FL. ... U.S. Rubber (now Uniroyal) becomes the first corporate sponsor of Little League. 1949 - Little League expands to 307 leagues in the U.S. ... A feature about Little League in the Saturday Evening Post spreads the Little League story to more than 14 million people. ... Newsreels highlighting the 1948 National Tournament are seen by millions more, and Carl Stotz is deluged by requests for information on starting a program in hundreds of communities. … Little League moves to protect its name by incorporating, in the state of New York.
1950 - The shortest World Series game ever, lasting exactly one hour, is played between Hagerstown, Md., and Kankakee, Ill. ... The first leagues outside the U.S. are formed at each end of the Panama Canal. 1951 - The first permanent Little League outside of the United States is formed in British Columbia, Canada. ... Little League grows to 776 programs. 1952 - Peter J. McGovern becomes the first full-time President of Little League Baseball. ... Baseball immortal Connie Mack is a visitor to the World Series. ... Little League expands to more than 1,500 programs. 1953 - The Little League World Series is televised for the first time, by CBS, with rookie announcer Jim McKay behind the mike. Howard Cosell handles the play-by-play for ABC radio. ... Birmingham, AL., defeats Schenectady, NY, 1-0, in one of only two 1-0 finals in World Series history. ... Joey Jay, who played Little League in Middletown, CT, becomes the first former Little Leaguer to reach the Major Leagues (Milwaukee Braves). 1954 - Boog Powell, who would later play for the Baltimore Orioles, participates for Lakeland, FL, in the World Series. ... Ken Hubbs, who would win the 1962 National League Rookie of the Year Award with the Chicago Cubs, plays in the Little League World Series for Colton, CA ... Little League Baseball expands to more than 3,300 leagues. 1955 - Baseball great Cy Young makes his last visit to the Little League World Series before his death in September. Carl Stotz is a pallbearer at his funeral. ... Morrisville, PA, defeats Delaware Township, N.J., 4-3, in seven innings (the first extra-inning Little League World Series championship game). ... A player for the New Jersey team is Billy Hunter, who would go on to play football for the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, and executive director of the NBA Players Association. ... Little League is now played in all forty-eight states. … Nine-year-old George W. Bush plays his first of four years at Central Little League of Midland, Texas, where he is a catcher on the Cubs. He later becomes the first Little League graduate to be elected President of the United States. 1956 - An out-of-court settlement of a dispute with the Little League Board of Directors ends with Carl Stotz severing ties with the organization he founded. ... The Little League Foundation is created. ... The first Little League World Series perfect game is pitched by Fred Shapiro of Delaware Township, NJ. ... Little League grows to more than 4,000 leagues. ... The first Little League Congress takes place in Chicago.
1957 - Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series as Angel Macias pitches the first perfect game in a championship final.
1958 - Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first Little League to win consecutive World Series championships. ... Hector Torres, who would later play in the Major Leagues, plays for Monterrey. ... Rick Wise, who would also play in the Major Leagues, plays for Portland, OR, in the World Series. 1959 - The modern protective helmet is developed by Dr. Creighton J. Hale, then Director of Research for Little League Baseball. ... The World Series is played for the first time at its present site in the borough of South Williamsport. ... Little League Baseball now has more than 5,000 leagues. ... The second week of June is proclaimed National Little League Week by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 1960 - The first European entry in the Little League World Series is Berlin, Germany. ... The Little League Baseball International administration building is completed. … The World Series final is broadcast live on television – ABC's first. ... More than 27,400 teams participate in more than 5,500 Little Leagues.
1961 - Senior League Baseball is created for players thirteen to fifteen years old. ... Brian Sipe, who would later play quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, plays for the World Series champions from El Cajon, CA ... More than 5,500 teams participate in Little Leagues. 1962 - Little League Summer Camp opens in Williamsport. ... Jackie Robinson is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and is a guest at the Little League World Series. ... National Little League Week is proclaimed by President John F. Kennedy. 1963 - ABC and its Wide World of Sports program televises the Little League World Series championship game for the first time, with Chris Schenkel calling the play-by-play.
1964 - Little League Baseball is granted a Charter of Federal Incorporation by the U.S. Congress. ... Danny Yacarino pitches a no-hitter and hits a home run to lead Mid Island Little League of Staten Island, NY, against Monterrey, Mexico, 4-0, for the Series title. 1965 - Venezuela and Spain are represented in the Little League World Series for the first time. 1966 - Little League Baseball's first regional headquarters, the Southern Region Headquarters, opens in St. Petersburg, FL ... A rain delay during a World Series game holds up the contest for one hour and thirty-three minutes. ... The game is broadcast in color for the first time on ABC Wide World of Sports.
1967 - West Tokyo, Japan, becomes the first Far East team to win the Little League World Series title. … Baseball great Ted Williams is an announcer for ABC. … Future Major Leaguer Bobby Mitchell plays in the 1967 Little League Baseball World Series for Northridge Little League. 1968 - The old wooden stands at Howard J. Lamade Memorial Field are replaced with concrete, and the venue is renamed Howard J. Lamade Stadium. … Big League Baseball for players sixteen to eighteen years old is started. ... Turk Schonert, future NFL quarterback, is a member of the Garden Grove, CA, team in the Series. 1969 - The Western Regional Headquarters of Little League Baseball in San Bernardino, CA, is opened. ... Newberry Little League participates in the World Series, becoming the first Williamsport-area team to play in the World Series since 1948. ... Taiwan wins the first of its seventeen Little League World Series. 1970 - The Canadian Headquarters of Little League Baseball opens in Ottawa, Ontario.
1971 - Lloyd McClendon, who would become a Major League player and later the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, hits five home runs in five at bats during the World Series for Gary, IN ... One of the longest games in World Series history is played over two hours and fifty-one minutes as Gary and Tainan, Taiwan battle for nine innings. ... A Little League State Center opens in Waco, Texas. ... Howard J. Lamade Stadium is expanded to increase seating capacity to 10,000. ... The aluminum bat, developed in cooperation with Little League, is first used. 1972 - Taiwan wins a second consecutive World Series championship for the Far East Region. ... Title IX, giving women and girls greater opportunities at higher levels of athletics, is signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon.
1973 - Dr. Creighton J. Hale is elected president of Little League Baseball, only the second full-time president in thirty-five years. ... Future Major Leaguer Ed Vosberg plays in the Little League World Series for the runner-up team from Tucson, AZ, and goes on to become the only person to participate in the Little League World Series, College World Series (University of Arizona, champions, 1980) and Major League World Series (Florida Marlins, champions, 1997). 1974 - Little League rules are revised to allow participation by girls. ... Little League Softball and Senior League Softball programs are created. 1975 - Non-U.S. teams are barred from advancing beyond regional play because of an over-emphasis on tournament play. ... Lakewood, NJ, defeats Belmont Heights, of Tampa, FL, 4-3, in the final.
1976 - Baseball Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Banks and Bob Gibson are Series guests as Chofu, Japan, wins that country's third championship, led by Kiyoshi Tsumura, who pitches a perfect game in the semifinal against Europe. 1977 - Future Major Leaguer Charlie Hayes plays in the 1977 Series for Hattiesburg, MS. 1978 - Little League grows to include more than 6,500 Little Leagues for nine-to-twelve-year-olds, 2,850 Senior Leagues for thirteen-to-fifteen-year-olds, and 1,300 Big League programs for sixteen-to-eighteen-year-olds. ... Little League and Senior League Softball teams total more than 7,400. ... Future Major Leaguer Erik Johnson is a pitcher in the 1978 Little League Baseball World Series championship game for San Ramon Valley Little League of Danville, Calif.
1979 - Junior League Baseball is created for thirteen-year-olds. ... Future Major Leaguers Dwight Gooden, Floyd Youmans and Vance Lovelace play for the Belmont Heights (Tampa, FL) team in the Senior League Baseball World Series in Gary, Indiana. 1980 - George Bush, a former Little League coach who is elected vice president three months later, throws out the first pitch for the World Series championship game. ... Big League Softball is started for players sixteen to eighteen years old. ... Belmont Heights reaches the finals of the Little League Baseball World Series, falling 4-3 to Taiwan. Gary Sheffield and Derek Bell, future Major Leaguers, play for Belmont Heights. 1981 - Dan Wilson, later a Major Leaguer, plays for Barrington (IL) Little League in the Little League World Series. ... Derek Bell returns with Belmont Heights, but his team falls to Taiwan again. Bell becomes the first Major League player to have played in two Little League World Series. 1982 - The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum opens at the Little League International Headquarters complex. ... Future Major Leaguer Wilson Alvarez plays for the Maracaibo, Venezuela, team in the Series. ... Kirkland, WA, defeats Taiwan, 6-0, before a then-World Series record crowd of 40,000 as Cody Webster tosses a two-hitter in the final game, ending Taiwan's 31-game winning streak in Williamsport. 1983 - Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn throws the ceremonial first pitch at the Little League World Series championship game and music star Chuck Mangione plays the Dominican Republic National Anthem. ... East Marietta (GA) National Little League wins the World Series with future Major Leaguer Marc Pisciotta on the mound. 1984 - Seoul, Korea, wins that country's first Little League World Series championship, defeating Altamonte Springs, Fla., 6-2. One Altamonte Springs player is future Major Leaguer Jason Varitek. ... Peter J. McGovern, Little League Board of Directors Chairman for more than thirty years, dies June 30. 1985 - For the first time, ABC-TV carries the Little League World Series championship game live on Wide World of Sports. ... For the first time in baseball history, ABC mounts a micro-miniature camera on the mask of the home plate umpire, Frank Rizzo. 1986 - Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth makes his first visit to the Little League World Series for the championship. ... Bill Shea, president of the Little League Foundation and the namesake of New York's Shea Stadium, throws the ceremonial first pitch. 1987 -
The 1947 Little League World Series champions, the Maynard Midgets of Williamsport, are reunited on the field before the championship game. 1988 - Tom Seaver, graduate of Spartan Little League in Fresno,CA, is the first enshrinee of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence. 1989 - Little League Baseball celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. ... Poland receives four certificates of charter for the first Little League programs in a former Eastern-Bloc country, delivered in person by President George Bush. ... Trumbull (Conn.) National Little League becomes the first U.S. team to win the World Series since 1983 before a crowd of 45,000. Future NHL star Chris Drury is on the mound for Trumbull. 1990 - Little League Baseball launches the first full season of the Challenger Division for mentally and physically disabled children. ... Little League in now enjoyed by children in thirty-nine countries. ... Taiwan regains the championship of the Little League World Series with a 9-0 victory over Shippensburg, PA. 1991 - Taiwan defeats Danville, CA, 11-0 in the final game of the Little League World Series.
1992 - Carl E. Stotz, founder of Little League, dies. ... The Little League World Series undergoes a series of changes -- A "pool" format is adopted in which each team is assured a minimum of three meaningful games in World Series play; A state-of-the-art Musco Sports Lighting System is installed at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, and the first Little League World Series night game is played. ... Long Beach (CA) Little League is named World Series Champion following the disqualification of Zamboanga (Philippines) City Little League. ... Guests at the Series include former Little Leaguers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Will, Tom Selleck and Vice President Dan Quayle. 1993 - Long Beach becomes the first U.S. league in history to win consecutive Little League Baseball World Series championships with a thrilling 3-2 victory against a team from Panama. Long Beach is led for a second year by Sean Burroughs, who pitches two no-hitters in the World Series, and later would later play in the Major Leagues. 1994 - After a record three hour, six minute rain delay, Coquivacoa Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela, becomes the first Latin American team to win the Little League World Series since 1958. ... Stephen D. Keener becomes the first Little League graduate to be named president of Little League Baseball, succeeding Dr. Creighton J. Hale. 1995 - Hall of Famer Stan Musial throws the ceremonial first pitch for the Little League World Series. ... After a three-year drought, Taiwan defeats Spring, Texas, 17-3, for the world title. 1996 - Little League celebrates the fiftieth World Series. ... Little League's first full-service Regional Headquarters outside the U.S. is opened, in Kutno, Poland. ... The Little League Education Program for Managers and Coaches is launched. ... The John W. Lundy Little League Conference Center is dedicated at Little League Baseball International. ... Taiwan wins a seventeenth series title. 1997 - Little League and Major League Baseball enter an agreement for the first time, co-producing a magazine that is mailed free of charge directly to nearly 2 million Little Leaguers. ... An all-time record 2,993,760 Little Leaguers participate. ... Sharon Robinson (daughter of the late Jackie Robinson) is a guest at the Little League World Series. ... For the first time, U.S. Regional championship games in Little League Baseball are televised nationally on ESPN2. ... Linda Vista Little League of Guadalupe, Mexico, wins the Little League World Series with a 4-run rally in the last inning. … The Chinese Taipei Baseball Association decides leagues in Taiwan will not charter with Little League.
1998 - Little League expands to include ninety-five countries. ... Toms River (NJ) East American Little League wins the Little League Baseball World Series, defeating Kashima (Japan) Little League 12-9 in a championship game featuring eleven home runs and 41,200 fans. ... It is announced that the Little League World Series will expand from eight teams to 16 in 2001, and a second stadium will be built.
1999 - The number of countries with Little League programs hits 100 for the first time as Burkina-Faso joins. ... Hirakata Little League of Osaka, Japan, wins that nation's first World Series title since 1976, defeating Phenix City, Ala., 5-0. ... Little League begins the first capital campaign in the program's history, to raise $20 million for a variety of projects. 2000 - Construction begins on Little League Volunteer Stadium, just north of Lamade Stadium, in preparation for expansion of the Little League World Series from eight to sixteen teams in 2001. ... Fraser Valley of British Columbia wins Canada's first World Series, taking the Big League Baseball title in Tucson, AZ ... Sierra Maestra Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela, defeats a team from Bellaire, Texas, 3-2, in the Little League Baseball World Series final. ... Little League graduate George W. Bush, son of former President George Bush, is elected to the highest U.S. office. 2001 – Construction is completed on Volunteer Stadium in time for the expansion of the 55th Little League Baseball World Series. … George W. Bush becomes the first U.S. President to visit the Little League Baseball World Series, watching as Japan defeats a Florida team 2-1 in the final game. First Lady Laura Bush and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge also attend. A day earlier, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani attended a Little League Baseball World Series game involving a New York City team. … A special field is constructed by Little League Baseball International personnel as President Bush invites Little League Tee Ball teams to the White House for three historic baseball games on the South Lawn. A fourth game, scheduled for Sept. 16, is postponed because of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. 2002 – Little League's “Honoring Our Hometown Heroes” program is launched paying homage to law enforcement personnel, firefighters, military personnel and local heroes in thousands of communities worldwide. … The Little League Parent Orientation Program debuts. … In the Junior League Softball Division, Windmills Little League of Utrecht, Netherlands, becomes the first European team to win a World Series. … In one of only three 1-0 final games in Little League Baseball World Series history, Valley Sports American Little League wins the championship against Sendai (Japan) Higashi Little League. 2003 – In the latest phase of the Little League Child Protection Program, local Little Leagues are now required to conduct background checks on certain volunteers. … A team from Africa (Cape Town, South Africa) is the first from that continent to advance to a World Series, earning a berth in the Big league Baseball World Series in Easley, S.C.
2004 – The inaugural Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree is held at Little League International, as eight teams from several states spend a four-day weekend in Williamsport. … Jack Losch, center fielder for the Maynard Midgets league team that won the first Little League Baseball World Series title in 1947, passes away. Mr. Losch became an All-America sports star at the University of Miami, was a running back for the Green Bay Packers, was an Air Force jet fighter pilot, and retired as a senior executive at General Motors. … John W. “Jack” Lundy, owner of Lundy Lumber and one of the original sponsors of Little League in 1939, passes away. … U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, wife Lynne, daughter Liz, and granddaughters Kate, Elizabeth, and Grace, attend a U.S. semifinal game during the Little League Baseball World Series. … After more than 50 years of publishing a printed newsletter, Little League converts the “Little Leaguer” newsletter to an all-electronic format. At its peak, the printed newsletter reached 13,000 people four times a year. The e-news reaches 400,000 people each month at the end of 2004. 2005 – Little League introduces “Ask Little League,” an interactive on-line session in which guests and friends of Little League answer questions from players, volunteers and fans. The first guest is Mike Mussina (New York Yankees pitcher, and member of the Little League International Board of Directors). … For the first time in more than 55 years, Little League changes the league age determination date for players, effective in 2006. The old date of July 31 for both baseball and softball becomes April 30 for baseball, and Dec. 31 (of the previous year) for softball.
Hall of Excellence
The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence was established to recognize Little League graduates who have become outstanding citizens and role models as adults. When considering a person for enshrinement into the Hall of Excellence, playing ability is never a factor, even though some have advanced to outstanding athletic careers. Each enshrinee has agreed to accept this highest honor Little League can bestow, and they are immortalized with a plaque in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence at Little League International, in Williamsport, Pa. The enshrinees are listed below, followed by the year they were enshrined.
If you know of someone who played Little League Baseball or Softball, has established a career in which they have risen to the top of their profession, and who clearly accepts their position as a role model for children, please let us know by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Ozzie Newsome -- 2008
Ozzie Newsome, General Manager and Executive Vice President of the Baltimore Ravens, is considered one of the top executives in the National Football League (NFL) and was the architect of the Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV Championship team in 2000. During a 13-year Hall of Fame NFL career, highlighted by three Pro Bowl selections (1981, 84-85), he became the league's premier tight end. With 662 career receptions and nearly 8,000 yards receiving, Mr. Newsome concluded his career as the fourth-leading receiver in league history. In 2002, former Ravens' owner Art Modell promoted Mr. Newsome, who played in the Muscle Shoals Little League in Alabama, to General Manager, making him the first African American to hold that position in NFL history.
Dusty Baker -- 2007
Dusty Baker played Little League Baseball in Riverside, California. Mr. Baker played 19 years in Major League Baseball, winning a World Series as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981. He has managed the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, leading the Giants to the 2002 National League pennant and appearance in the World Series. He is a baseball analyst for ESPN.
Pierre Turgeon -- 2007
Pierre Turgeon played Little League Baseball in Rouyn, Quebec, Canada, and was a member of the Canadian National Championship team that played in the 1982 Little League Baseball World Series. In 19 National Hockey League seasons, Mr. Turgeon has scored more than 500 career goals. He is the first Canadian-born enshrinee into the Hall of Excellence.
Lloyd McClendon -- 2006
Lloyd McClendon, playing for Anderson Little League of Gary, Ind., in the 1971 Little League Baseball World Series, became known as “Legendary Lloyd” for his performance over three Series games, dominating as a pitcher and as a hitter, with five home runs, 10 runs batted in, and five intentional walks in 10 plate appearances. More importantly, Mr. McClendon went on to become a role model for children during his long career as a Major League player, manager and coach.
Jose Maiz Garcia -- 2005
Jose Maiz Garcia, a civil engineer, businessman, and owner of the Monterrey Sultans of the Mexican League, played in 1957 for Monterrey's Industrial Little League, the first non-U.S. team to win a Little League Baseball World Series championship. Learning “discipline, teamwork, obedience, and how to win and lose,” from Little League, Mr. Garcia has generously given back to the program and to his community. He heads one of the largest construction firms in Mexico, and is the first non-U.S. person to be enshrined in the Hall of Excellence.
Krissy Wendell -- 2004 Krissy Wendell, the first girl to start at catcher in a Little League Baseball World Series game, played in Williamsport in 1994 for Brooklyn Park (Minn.) American Little League, and would go on to become one of the best women's ice hockey players in U.S. history. She led the U.S. Olympic Women's Hockey Team to a silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. In 2004, she won the most outstanding player award in the NCAA tournament as a member of the national champion University of Minnesota Women's Hockey Team.
Nancy dosReis -- 2004 Nancy dosReis, a detective in the Providence (R.I.) Police Department, played softball for six years in the North Providence West Little League, and was a member of her league's world championship team in the 1979 Little League Softball World Series, played in Waco, Texas. Detective dosReis, who earned a master's degree from Roger Williams University, made national headlines in 1996 when she and her K-9 partner were credited with the arrest of a convicted murderer who had escaped from a maximum-security prison.
Cathy Gerring -- 2004 Cathy Gerring, a professional golfer, played baseball in the Times Corners Little League of Fort Wayne, Ind. After earning All-America honors at Ohio State University, she became a professional golfer in 1983, winning three events on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour, and she climbed to No. 4 in tour winnings in 1990. Severe burns from a 1992 accident and a serious head injury in a 2002 fall dealt setbacks to her career, but she has battled back each time to play golf professionally again.
Staff Sgt. Wilbert Davis -- 2003
Wilbert Davis played Little League in Tampa, Fla., and helped the 1975 Belmont Heights Little League team to reach the Little League Baseball World Series. On April 3, 2003, while en route to Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of the U.S. Army Third Infantry Division, Staff Sgt. Davis perished when his Humvee came under fire and overturned into a canal. Now, Headstone 7867 in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery marks the final resting place of Sgt. Davis, alongside thousands of this nation's heroes. Robert Davis, Wilbert's brother, said the two things his brother valued in life were “Little League baseball and the military.” Sgt. Davis is the first U.S. military person enshrined posthumously into the Hall of Excellence.
Gen. Peter Pace -- 2003
Peter Pace played in the Teaneck (N.J.) Southern Little League in the 1950s. In 1968, as a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, his first assignment during the Vietnam War was to help lead about 2,500 Marines in dislodging an enemy force four times their strength in the city of Hue. He subsequently served assignments in Japan, Somalia, Europe and many places in the U.S. Gen. Pace is the sixth officer (and the first Marine) to become Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs – the second-highest attainable position in the U.S. military. Of his Little League lessons, Gen. Pace said, “Over time I learned if I wanted play, I had to go to practice and practice on my own, and do all the things I needed to be successful.”
Michael Cammarata -- 2002
Michael Cammarata, who was last seen rushing into the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, played in the 1991 Little League Baseball World Series for South Shore Little League of Staten Island, N.Y. He is the first person to receive Little League's highest honor posthumously and the first firefighter so honored. His willingness to sacrifice his own safety for the safety of others made him the very embodiment of all three words in the Little League motto: character, courage and loyalty. After graduating high school, Mr. Cammarata attended college on a hockey scholarship. He left college to pursue his dream of becoming a firefighter in New York City. In a note he left in case he were to perish in the line of duty, he asked his family to “make my spirit live on.” Little League hopes it has played a small part in memorializing the spirit and life of a true hero.
Rudolph Giuliani -- 2002
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, this former New York City mayor's compassionate leadership helped the city and, by extension, the nation stay focused on remembrance and recovery. Mr. Guiliani was born in Brooklyn and played in the Garden City South Little League in Long Island, N.Y. An avid baseball fan, he graduated from Manhattan College and earned a law degree from New York University Law School. He became U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and in 1993 was elected to the first of two four-year terms as mayor. Under his guidance, the city reasserted its position as one of the world's great hubs of culture, history, commerce and diplomacy. New York City statutes did not allow Mr. Giuliani to seek a third consecutive term as mayor. But the performance of his public duties in one of our country's darkest hours earned him the unofficial title “America's Mayor.”
President George W. Bush -- 2001
Defense was the specialty of George W. Bush when he played in the Central Little League of Midland, Texas, during the 1950s and he has cited Little League as providing his fondest childhood memory. After attending Yale University and Harvard Business School, he served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard, then moved into the energy business from 1975 until 1986. After working on this father's successful 1988 presidential campaign, he led a group that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. He was elected the 46th Governor of Texas in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998. In 2000, he became the first Little League graduate elected President of the United States. His “Tee Ball on the South Lawn” program was launched in May 2001, giving Little Leaguers a chance to play ball on the grounds of the White House.
Dr. Robert Stratta -- 2000
Dr. Stratta considers pitching in the 1967 Little League World Series Championship Game, for North Roseland Little League of Chicago, one of the high points of his life. “By achieving this lofty goal at the age of 12, I always believed that no goal was beyond my reach.” His goals these days involve saving lives and teaching others to do the same: He's been a transplant surgeon and professor of surgery at the University of Tennessee-Memphis since 1997. Before that, he led the Clinical Pancreas Transplant Team at the University of Nebraska-Omaha for seven years. Dr. Stratta, who attended college on a baseball scholarship, isn't shy about crediting Little League and the sport of baseball with enabling him to accomplish so much in life. “I played baseball for the competition and sheer joy of the sport. But in the end it allowed me to travel around the country, paved the way for my higher education, and taught me how to effectively compete in the ‘game' of life.”
George H. “Billy” Hunter -- 2000
As an athlete, Mr. Hunter was a leader on the field; when his playing days ended, he became a leader off the field, too. In 1955, Mr. Hunter led his Delaware Township (N.J.) Little League team to the finals of the Little League World Series. Along the way, he made lifelong friends, earned a hero's welcome in his hometown and met people from all walks of life. “It was phenomenal, a high point in my life,” says the man who later captained the Syracuse University football team and played professional football. While still in the pros, he earned a law degree. After retiring, he practiced law in California, becoming United States Prosecutor for Northern California in 1976. In 1996, he was unanimously selected executive director of the NBA Players Association. His advice for young players is simple: “Children today have to be children, to take their time and savor the moment. Embrace every opportunity, not just on the field, but off it. Meet people and learn how to be a role model, because your reputation is the most important thing you have.”
Kevin Costner -- 2000
With American classics like “Dances With Wolves” and “Field of Dreams” to his credit, this Academy Award-winning director and actor knows how important the entire team is to the success of any project. It's one of the lessons Mr. Costner learned as a star pitcher in the Saticoy Little League of Ventura, Calif. “You learn how you have to depend on teammates, because even on no-hitters there's someone behind you making a play.” As a Little Leaguer, Mr. Costner had his share of pitching success, striking out as many as 16 opponents in one game, tossing no-hitters and shutting down rallies. The most important lesson he learned, though, was to make his best effort every day. “Once you learn your place on the team, did you give it your best shot? I'm a filmmaker and an actor. I know that hits aren't going to happen every time…But I honestly believe I've given it my best shot.”
Brian Sipe -- 1999
“Friends, fun and teamwork” are the three adjectives that spring to Brian Sipe's mind when he remembers his Little League days. A member of the 1961 Little League World Series Championship team, Northern Little League, El Cajon, Calif., Brian went on to a highly successful career as one of the National Football League's best quarterbacks. A member of the Cleveland Browns and chosen as the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1980, he demonstrated a rare combination of athletic grace and leadership.
Michael Pladus -- 1999
When asked what playing at Shenandoah North (Pa.) Little League meant to him, Michael Pladus replied “Little League provided me with more than positive recreation, it provided me with opportunities to learn lessons from which I have benefited throughout my life.” Some of these lessons learned on the Little League field were no doubt in use as a successful educator. He is such a positive force for his students that he was named 1999 National High School Principal of the Year. It was his dedication to his students and his drive to help them succeed that led to his Principal of the Year award.
Don Beaver -- 1999
In 1952, Don and his teammates proudly represented the Southern region during the Little League Baseball World Series for the Mooresville (N.C.) Little League. Now, as an owner of several minor league baseball teams around the country and a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, this highly respected businessman still holds pitching in the World Series as his most cherished moment throughout all of his sporting activities. Don Beaver is a role model for all Little Leaguers; a respected businessman, dedicated community leader and lifelong fan of America's Pastime.
Dave Barry -- 1998
Dave Barry fondly recalls when “Little League dominated his life in late spring and early summer.” Now a best-selling author, syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner, he still remembers his Little League career in Armonk, N.Y., as a time when he “learned a lot; what if feels like to have to perform under pressure; how to be a part of, and have obligations to a team; how to win, and how to lose. Little League was my first, and best, exposure to organized sports.” Dave Barry's community involvement includes working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Fellowship House, Children's Home Society and the Tactical Speech Project.
Tony Dungy -- 1998
Tony Dungy, is accomplished on and off the playing field. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, he went on to lead a successful career in the National Football League. First as a player, and then as a head coach, he brings lessons learned on the Little League field at Southeast Little League of Jackson, Mich., to his team: sportsmanship, teamwork, and a dedication to excellence. A former NFL representative for the United Way and a representative for the National Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Tony Dungy helps other athletes become positive role models worthy of emulation.
Bruce Springsteen --1997
Bruce Springsteen once commented that “Little League has a big, positive impact in my life.” He often talks about his Little League days in Freehold, N.J., during concerts. His impact on other people's lives has been big and positive as well. Winner of seven Grammy awards and an Oscar, Bruce sets out to “make sure something is revealed at the end of a song, some knowledge is gained. That's when I figure I'm doing my job.” His efforts to help others is demonstrated frequently by donating income from T-shirts and other merchandise sold at his concerts to selected soup kitchens, veteran's groups and homeless shelters.
Dan O'Brien -- 1997
Dan O'Brien is World Record holder and 1996 Olympic Gold Medallist in the Decathlon, giving him the unofficial title of world's best athlete. Perhaps with lessons learned on the Little League fields at South Suburban Little League in Klamath Fall, Ore., Dan has taken failure in stride. Failing to qualify for the 1992 Olympic Team, due to three missed pole vault attempts, he came back to win the 1993 world championship (setting the world record along the way) and the Olympic Gold three years later. Dan's winning spirit is also seen through his efforts for children, and his work with many other agencies and foundations such as Wendy's Foundation, United Way, Ronald McDonald House and the Orphan Foundation of America.
Cal Ripken, Jr. -- 1996
Cal Ripken, Jr., a shortstop and a pitcher as a twelve year old, advanced all the way to the Little League Baseball Southern Regional Series in 1973 for the West Ashville (N.C.) Little League. Twenty two years and one month later, the eyes of the baseball world were on him as the Baltimore Orioles shortstop shattered one of baseball's most important records- Lou Gehrig's 2,130 consecutive games played. If anyone was going to come close, it had to be someone with the rare combination of ability, stamina, and perserverance. Cal Ripken, Jr. is also one of the finest gentleman in the game. He and his wife Kelly are active in promoting literacy in the Baltimore area.
Dr. Robert Sloan -- 1996
Like many children, Robert Sloan played Little League just for “something to do.” But Little League became one of the forces that drove him to success. The graduate of Western Little League in Abelene, became President of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. “In a way, all the basic elements of life are in baseball and Little League,” said Dr. Sloan. “You have to show up at a certain time. If you're late, you let the team down. And just like life, there are isolated individual performances that stand out. But in the end, it's what the team did that really matters.” Dr. Sloan, a Little League coach from 1984-1990, has authored two books and more than 50 articles.
Leonard S. Coleman, Jr. -- 1996
When Leonard Coleman dreamed of professional baseball as a Little Leaguer in Montclair, N.J., he probably never considered he would rise to the rank of President of the National League. Mr. Coleman became the 14th President of the league in 1994, prepared with more than two decades of exemplary professional and community service. Mr. Coleman has achieved tremendous success while retaining the values and character he developed as a child on a Little League field. Mr. Coleman's community involvement includes work with the Little League Foundation, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change, the Children's Defense Fund, and the Boys and Girls Club of Newark, N.J.
Dale Murphy -- 1995
A graduate of the Tualatin Little League in Portland, Ore., Dale Murphy won five consecutive Golden Glove Awards. He was selected as a National League all-star five times. In 1983 he became the youngest of only four players to win back-to-back Most Valuable Player Awards. He was presented Major League Baseball's Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1985 as the player who best exemplifies the image and character of a Hall of Famer.
Dr. Vincent Fortanasce -- 1994
Dr. Fortanase is a Board Certified Psychiatrist and Neurologist as well as a clinical professor at the University of Southern California School of Medicine where he was twice named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. A member of the 1964 US Olympic Weight Lifting Team, Dr. Fortanasce is a member of the Los Angeles County Medical Association Board of Ethics. He played in the Elmont Little League, Queens, N.Y.
Dr. Story Musgrave -- 1994
Dr. Musgrave is a NASA Astronaut who has flown more than 17,000 hours in more than 160 types of aircraft including five missions on the Space Shuttle. Dr. Musgrave, who was instrumental in the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope, has three bachelors degrees and five masters degrees in addition to a Doctorate in Medicine. Dr. Musgrave played Little League in Boston, Mass.
Jim Palmer -- 1994
Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer is a graduate of the Beverly Hills, Calif., Little League. In his 19-year Major League career he won three Cy Young Awards and was the first pitcher ever to post a World Series victory in each of three decades. He also distinguished himself as an analyst and commentator for ABC Sports. Jim Palmer completed his career with more than 2,200 strikeouts and a 2.86 earned run average.
Hale Irwin -- 1993
Hale Irwin was a scholar/athlete at the University of Colorado where he excelled at football. He is considered one of the most successful members of the PGA. A graduate of the Baxter Springs (Kan) Little League, he has won three U.S. Open Championships and was a member of the U.S. World Cup Team twice and a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team five times.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- 1992
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leading scorer in National Basketball Association history and member of the NBA Hall of Fame, played Little League Baseball in the Inwood Little League in New York City where he was awarded his team's sportsmanship award. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been on six NBA championship teams and has been named NBA Most Valuable player six times. He is second in NBA history for most games played and holds the NBA record for career blocked shots.
George Will -- 1992
George Will, a graduate of the Champaign (Ill.) Little League, is a nationally syndicated columnist, political analyst and best-selling author. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1977. His book, “Men At Work,” reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller List and is widely regarded as the best “nuts and bolts” book about baseball book of the decade.
Nolan Ryan -- 1991
Major League Baseball's all-time strike out record holder is a graduate of the Alvin Little League in Alvin, Texas, where his children also played Little League. Nolan Ryan was the 1990 recipient of the Sporting News Man of the Year Award, United Press International's Male Athlete of the Year Award and the United States Sports Academy/USA Today Professional Sportsman of the Year Award. He retired from Major League Baseball following the 1992 season with an unprecedented seven no-hit games and twelve one-hit games. Nolan Ryan ranks among the all-time leaders in games started, innings pitched, shutouts, and earned run average, and was the 18th pitcher to win 300 games.
Mike Schmidt -- 1991
Mike Schmidt is a graduate of the North Riverdale Little League in Dayton, Ohio. During his stellar 18-season career with the Philadelphia Phillies, he earned three National League Most Valuable Player Awards and was awarded the Gold Glove ten times. Mike Schmidt retired from Major League Baseball in 1989 having hit 548 home runs and driving in 1,595 runs and collecting 1,015 extra-base hits.
Tom Selleck -- 1991
Tom Selleck was an all-star pitcher with the Pioneer Little League of Sherman Oaks, Calif. This multi-talented actor has earned both an Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award for his work. His highly successful series “Magnum, PI” enjoyed eight seasons as one of network television's most popular programs. Tom Selleck has also starred in several hit movies.
Vice President Dan Quayle -- 1990
Vice President Dan Quayle played second base in the Hoosier Little League of Huntington, Ind., during the mid-1950's. He was the first Little League graduate elected to the nation's second highest office. A special enshrinement ceremony was held for Mr. Quayle in the Indian Treaty Room of the Old Executive Office Building (now the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) at the White House complex in Washington, D.C. At his enshrinement, Mr. Quayle donated his Little League glove to the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, where it displayed today.
Senator Bill Bradley -- 1989
Bill Bradley, a graduate of the Crystal City (Mo.) Little League, personifies the principles of sportsmanship, responsibility and discipline. He has demonstrated an exceptional balance of superior academic and sports accomplishments through his illustrious professional basketball career with the New York Knicks and into his leadership position as a U.S. Senator for New Jersey. He distinguished himself as a Rhodes Scholar at Princeton University where he was an All-America basketball player and captain of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team.
Tom Seaver -- 1988
Tom Seaver, a graduate of the Spartan Little League, Fresno, Calif., and one of Major League Baseball's most accomplished pitchers is the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence charter enshrinee. Throughout his 19-year career he accumulated 311 wins, a no-hit game, three Cy Young Awards, the National League Rookie of the Year Award, and a World Series Championship with the New York Mets. He was awarded baseball's highest honor, selection into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1992. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from the University of Southern California in 1974, seven years after his Major League career began.