Little Known Facts About the Little League World Series
PHOTO CREDIT: Photo courtesy of Little League International, South Williamsport, Pa.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Little League Baseball – fittingly, the diamond anniversary.
As for their championship tournament, the 68th annual Little League World Series took place for 11 days in August 2014 in South Williamsport, Penn., with 16 teams competing for the coveted title. The LLWS serves as the climactic ending to three summer months of tournament-elimination action that sees teams of ballplayers ages 11-13 competing from throughout the U.S., as well as 80 other countries, all vying for the trip to South Williamsport.
Now, stepping up to the plate, are some facts about the LLWS:
The LLWS consists of 16 teams – eight from the U.S. and eight from other countries.
The eight U.S. teams have one representative apiece from the following regions: Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and West. The eight international teams represent Asia Pacific/Middle East, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Europe/Africa, Japan, Latin America and Mexico.
LLWS teams pay nothing during their stay.
All travel expenses are paid by Little League International, which houses and serves meals to all 16 teams in dormitories at Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove, which is part of the South Williamsport baseball complex. The dorms – equipped with video games, TVs, recreation hall, dining facility and swimming pool – are off-limits to the general public and ideal for players from around the world to get to know one another.
To date, 12 girls have played in the LLWS.
The first was Victoria Roche in 1984, who played for a team representing Brussels (Belgium) Little League. One woman has coached an LLWS team – Kathy Barnard in 1993, of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The LLWS has become a major television event.
The first TV broadcast of the Little League World Series occurred on ABC in 1963, with only the championship game televised. These days, the title game and about 50 games leading up to the championship are televised on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Several Major League Baseball players competed in the LLWS.
Boog Powell, Carney Lansford, Lance Lynn, Lloyd McClendon, Gary Sheffield, Jason Varitek, and Todd Frazier are among the past and present MLB players who once participated in the Little League World Series. In addition, athletes who eventually became professionals in other sports also played in the LLWS, including Matt Cassel (NFL), Chris Drury (NHL), Ray Ferraro (NHL) and Pierre Turgeon (NHL).
Besides the Little League World Series, Little League International also crowns eight national champions each year in eight other divisions:
Big League Baseball (ages 15-18, championships played in Easley, S.C.)
Senior League Baseball (ages 14-16, Bangor, Maine)
Junior League Baseball (ages 13-14, Taylor, Mich.)
Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball (ages 11-13, Livermore, Calif.)
Big League Softball (ages 14-18, Lower Sussex, Del.)
Senior League Softball (ages 13-16, Lower Sussex, Del.)
Junior League Softball (ages 13-14, Kirkland, Wash.)
Little League Softball (ages 11-12, Portland, Ore.)