The Little League (Baseball) World Series is a baseball tournament for children aged 11, 12 and in limited circumstances, 13. Named for the World Series in Major League Baseball. It was first held in 1947 and is held every August in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania in the United States. (The postal address of the organization is in Williamsport, but the stadium complex is in South Williamsport.) At first it was only between teams from the US (much like the major league World Series), but it now truly lives up to its designation and has become a worldwide tournament. The tournament has gained popular renown, especially in the United States, where games from the Series and even from regional tournaments are broadcast on NBC.
The Little League World Series is one of eight tournaments sponsored by Little League International. Each of them brings baseball or softball all-star teams from around the world together in one of four age divisions. The tournament structure described here is that used for the Little League Baseball World Series. The structure used for the other World Series is similar.
|Little League Baseball||South Williamsport, Pennsylvania||1947|
|Junior League Baseball||Taylor, Michigan||1981|
|Senior League Baseball||Bangor, Maine||1961|
|Big League Baseball||Easley, South Carolina||1968|
|Little League Softball||Portland, Oregon||1974|
|Junior League Softball||Kirkland, Washington||1999|
|Senior League Softball||Sussex County, Delaware||1976|
|Big League Softball||Kalamazoo, Michigan||1982|
|Little League Mason Baseball||Mason, Ohio||2014|
In the summer months leading up to the Little League World Series, held each year in August, nearly every Little League organization around the world selects an All-Star team made up of players from its respective league. It is these All-Star teams that compete in district, sectional, state, and regional tournaments in hopes of advancing to Williamsport for the Little League World Series. Just how many games a team has to play varies widely from region to region. In the United States alone, for instance, the tournaments at the lowest (district) level lack nationwide standardization. Some use pool play or double elimination, others use single elimination.
In the United States, the fate of district winners varies widely from state to state. In certain larger states such as New York, Florida and California, the district winners advance to one of several sectional tournaments. The winners of each sectional tournament then advance to a state or divisional tournament. Divisional tournaments, currently held only in the Texas and California, closely resemble the state tournaments held in less densely populated states. Most smaller states lack competition at the sectional level and go straight from district to state tournaments. A handful of states are composed of only one district, and the district champion is the automatic state champion.
With four exceptions, every state, as well as the District of Columbia crowns a state champion, and sends that team as its representative to one of eight regional tournaments. For example, the Nevada state champion advances to the West Regional tournament, while the Georgia state champion advances to the Southeast regional tournament. Because of their large geographic and population size, California and Texas send two representatives to their respective regional tournament: Northern California and Southern California both send teams to play in the West region tournament, while Texas East and Texas West (whose areas encompass more than the geographical areas of East Texas and West Texas, splitting roughly along the I-35/I-37 corridor) compete in the Southwest region tournament. Conversely, because of their sparse population, the Dakotas have just one district spanning the two states, and its winner becomes the joint champion and advances to the Midwest region tournament.
The state champions, as well as the Northern California, Southern California, Texas East, Texas West and Dakotas champions, compete in one of eight different regional tournaments. Each regional tournament winner then advances to the Little League World Series. See  for a comprehensive breakdown of current and historical US regional tournament locations, participants and results.
Other countries and regions select their own way of crowning a champion. Little League Canada, for instance, holds tournaments at the provincial and regional level to field five champions at the national tournament: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, the Atlantic Provinces, and the Prairie Provinces. The host site of the national tournament varies from year to year, and the home team gets an automatic berth as the sixth team. The winner of the national tournament earns the right to represent Canada at the Little League World Series.
World Series breakdownEdit
Currently, the Little League World Series consists of 16 teams—8 from the United States, and 8 from other countries. The teams are divided into two brackets: the United States Bracket and the International Bracket. Each team is then randomly assigned to one of two "pools" in their respective bracket. In the opening days of the tournament, the teams compete round robin within their own pool. The top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinal of their bracket, where the 1st place team from one pool competes against the 2nd place team from the other. The respective winners advance to play in either the United States or International Final. The U.S. champion and the International champion advance to compete in the Little League World Series Championship Game. The Winner of the Little League World Series Championship Game is crowned the Little League World Champion.
The eight regional tournament winners which compete in the United States Bracket of the Little League World Series, as well as the states those regional champions could possibly hail from are as follows:
- New England (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT)
- Mid-Atlantic (PA, NY, NJ, MD, DC, DE)
- Midwest (ND/SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO)
- Great Lakes (MI, WI, OH, IN, IL, KY)
- Southeast (VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TN)
- Southwest (MS, LA, AR, TX West, OK, CO, NM, TX East)
- Northwest (AK, WY, WA, OR, ID, MT)
- West (AZ, NV, Northern CA, UT, Southern CA, HI)
The eight divisions which compete in the International Bracket are as follows:
- Latin America
- Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA)
There is considerable territorial overlap between the Trans-Atlantic and EMEA regions. The leagues within the so-called "Trans-Atlantic" region generally consist of children and other dependents of American expatriates, typically Armed Forces personnel, international organization members, and oil company workers. The leagues within the "EMEA" region, conversely, generally consist of players native to the league's own country.
Beginning in 2007, the Japan champion will advance directly to Williamsport. The Asia Region and Pacific Region will now be combined to form the Asia-Pacific Region.
Little League World Series championsEdit
Famous participants in Little League World Series Edit
- Wilson Alvarez - MLB Player (1982 World Series)/ Maracaibo,Venezuela
- Jason Bay - MLB Player (1990 World Series)/Trail, British Columbia
- Derek Bell - Former MLB Player (1980, 1981 World Series)/ Tampa, Florida
- Sean Burroughs - MLB Player (1992, 1993 World Series)/ Long Beach, CA
- Michael Cammarata - Firefighter (1991 World Series)/ Staten Island, New York, was killed in September 11, 2001 Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center
- Matt Cassel - NFL Quarterback for the New England Patriots (1994 World Series)/ Northridge, California
- Chris Drury - NHL Player (1989 World Series)/ Trumbull, CT
- Ray Ferraro - Former NHL Player (1976 World Series)
- Ken Hubbs - Former MLB Player (1954 World Series)/ Colton, California 1962 National League Rookie of the Year as a Chicago Cub
- Carney Lansford - Former MLB Player (1969 World Series)/ Santa Clara, California
- Jason Marquis - MLB Player (1991 World Series)/ Staten Island, New York
- Stephane Matteau - Former NHL Player (1982 World Series)
- Lloyd McClendon - Former MLB Player (1971 World Series)/ Gary, Indiana
- Lastings Milledge - MLB Player (1997 World Series)/ Bradenton, Florida
- Boog Powell - Former MLB Player (1954 World Series)/ Lakeland, Florida
- Gary Sheffield - MLB Player (1980 World Series)/ Tampa, Florida
- Pierre Turgeon - NHL Player (1982 World Series)
- Jason Varitek - MLB Player (1984 World Series)/ Altamonte Springs, Florida
* - In 1975, Little League Baseball banned all non-US teams from the World Series. After considerable criticism, the ban was rescinded the following year.
† - In 1985, Mexicali (MX) represented the Western Region of the United States because of its proximity to the El Centro/Calexico area in Southern California, and the potential players from that region could have played for that city's leagues. It represented California's District 22 in the Southern California region, and won the Western Region tournament. After the 1985 Series, the region was shifted from California leagues to Mexico leagues. Similarly, the South Lake Tahoe (CA) Little League plays in the Nevada region of Little League in order to save on travel costs with the team closer to other leagues in Nevada than to those in California.
‡ - Long Beach declared a 6–0 winner after the international tournament committee determined that Zamboanga City had used ineligible players that were either not from within its city limits, overage, or both.
No teams from Taiwan/Chinese Taipei participated after the 1996 tournament until the 2003 tournament, after the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association decided its leagues would no longer charter with Little League, claiming inability to comply with rules enacted in 1992 regarding the maximum size of player pools and number of participating teams in leagues based at schools, and residency requirements, which Little League Baseball had stated they would enforce more strictly. To this point, the country's representatives had won 16 of a possible 29 titles.
In both Little League World Series Stadiums in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the outfield fences were moved back 20 feet; the previous measurement was 205 feet, and in 2006 it is 225 feet.
- ↑ Taiwan, once dominant, to return to Little League, Associated Press Newswires, 25 April 2003, The Associated Press.
- Official site
- Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum
- Comprehensive information on regional tournaments
- 1954 Schenectady Little League Honored