Welcome to Little League® - Baseball, Softball and Challenger

Little League® Memories

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Former All-Time leading scorer in the National Basketball Association (NBA)

“I was presented the Little League® Sportsmanship Award when I was 12 and I still have that vivid memory today.”

~ 1993 Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Dr. James Andrews – World-renowned Orthopedic Surgeon, Founder and Medical Director of the American Sports Medicine Institute and Little League International Board of Directors Member

“My personal opinion is that fatigue is the highest risk factor in youth baseball related to injury. If you can prevent fatigue you’ve done 95 percent of what you can do to prevent injury. We’ve shown through Little League® that we’ve absolutely decreased the number of injuries to the throwing shoulder and elbow with our strict pitch-count rules at different ages.”

~ AthleticBusiness.com, August 2013


Dusty Baker - Former Major League Baseball Manager; Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“The hours you put into Little League® help to develop a sense of commitment and dedication for whatever you do. It’s like when you invest, you don’t know until later if it was a good deal or not. For me, the lessons I learned in Little League were a good investment and set the foundation for the rest of my life.”

~ 2007 Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Dave Barry – Little League Graduate; Pulitzer-prize winning journalist; Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

"Little League® was my first, and best, exposure to organized sport. I learned a lot: What it feels like to perform under pressure; how to be a part of, and have obligations to, a team; how to win; and how to lose.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball®


Bill Bradley – Little League Graduate; Rhodes Scholar, Former U.S. Senator, Member of the National Basketball Hall of Fame; Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“… The most important lessons I learned in Little League® were to be a good loser and a graceful winner; to put the team effort ahead of personal goals; and to put 100 percent of myself in to every game and practice.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball®


George Brett – Baseball Hall of Famer

“When I played Little League, it wasn’t something you did because your parents wanted you to do it or because it was your job. It was fun.

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball


George W. Bush – Little League Graduate, 43rd President of the United States

“For all of the moms and dads who take special time out of their lives, I say thank you. You prioritize your family, and that’s crucial for a healthy world, to make sure our families remain strong. I equate Little League with good families.”

"You've seen what it's like when people say, 'I'm going to be a coach in a Little League® to help a kid learn a team sport, and, at the same time, sportsmanship.' The strength of this country lies in the hearts and souls of our fellow citizens, which makes us such a fabulous nation.

~ 2001 Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Crystl Bustos – Little League graduate, Team USA Softball

“A dream is a dream, but not too many people achieve their dreams. Becoming an elite softball player was not my dream, it was my goal. What I teach is to set goals, because goals are reasonable and attainable.”

~ LittleLeague®.org, 2011


Gary Carter – Baseball Hall of Fame

“The Little League pledge says … win or lose, always do your best. That is what I learned most from Little League.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball


Dick Cheney – Former Vice President of the United States

“[Little League®] is a phenomenal organization and it’s a great introduction to [baseball and softball]. There are millions of people involved now in the games, not only here in the U.S., but around the world. Williamsport, of course, has been the home for the Little League World Series since the late 1940s, so it’s been a tremendous success story. It’s a fantastic because it teaches kids some very, very important values, and anybody can come out to the ballpark and enjoy the game.”

~ Little League Baseball® World Series, August 2004


Harlan Coben – New York Times Best-Selling Author; Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“Little League® to me was the smell of freshly mowed grass, the crunch of the gravel in the driveway, the tangy fair of early spring. It was oiling up the baseball mitt and wrapping it in rubber bands, the dirt from a slide that never quite came out in the wash, the taste of the concession stand cheeseburger, the sound of infield chatter, the casual leaning against the chain-link fence with my friends. It was Little League. And it was childhood.”

~ 2013 Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Kevin Costner – Oscar-winning Actor and Director

“Little League was such a huge part of my life. As a kid and as a father, the memories are, in fact, so thick that I have to brush them away from my face. Thank God for Little League and how it’s managed itself.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball


Ron Darling - Former Major League Baseball player, sports personality

“Still today, I remember when I was 10 getting my best Christmas present ever - a new baseball glove. I have pictures of my brothers and me getting dressed for all-stars in our brand new uniforms and having my dad make sure we were buttoning our jerseys right. All those memories are incredible to me.”

~ William A. (Bill) Shea Award Acceptance Speech, August 2011


Dayanira Diaz – Little League® Graduate, member of Puerto Rico National Softball team

“I will never forget my time playing Little League. It was great for me because of the many fun experiences. The games, the team parties and the other league activities were all exciting to me.”

~ 2014 Little League® Magazine


Walt Disney – Founder, Walt Disney Studios; Developer of Disneyland and Disney World

“To me, Little League is a valuable asset to our society because it gives players and enjoyable experience, and yet one in which they learn to cooperate with their teammates, their families and neighbors … This is a competitive world where the best winning is done by observing rules of fair play and equal opportunity. Little League is valuable because the children who are benefiting from it may well hold the future of our country in their hands one day.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball


Nancy dosReis - Police Detective; Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“Besides child birth, winning the (Little League Softball®) World Series was the best experience of my life.”

~ 2004 Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Chris Drury – 1989 LLBWS World Series Champion, U.S. Olympian, Former Captain of the NHL’s New York Rangers; Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“Playing Little League® molded me. I had so many good coaches in Little League. They taught me about sportsmanship, and Little League is where I really learned to compete.”

~ 2011 Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Sue Enquist – NCAA Softball Champion player and coach, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

“I was the player that wasn’t the biggest, fastest or smartest, but still I learned through Little League that I have no limits.”

~ LittleLeague®.org, 2006


Kathy Gerring – Professional Golfer; Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“As little girls we were just kids with a dream and the desire to play ball. I can’t begin to thank everyone who helped us reach for our dreams.”

~ 2004 Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour – Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors

“Having the distinction of being the largest youth sports organization in the world is great for identity and reputation, but this can only be appreciated by remembering our roots, while learning and growing from our history.”

~ Acceptance Speech, Board of Directors meeting, November 2012


Joe Girardi – Manager, New York Yankees

“I went through Little League®, so the first thing I ask the coaches to do is to think about their own experiences in Little League. I told them, ‘the best thing a kid can say to a coach is that he wants to play again next year.’ The greatest reward as a coach is to have that same player say to you he wants to be on your team.”

~ LittleLeague.org, 2008


Rudolph Giuliani – Former Mayor of New York City Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“I am honored to be selected to be a member of the Hall of Excellence, along with a great hero like Michael Cammarata. It’s also an honor to be selected by an organization like Little League Baseball®, which cultivates a game I loved playing as a child.”

~ Little League Baseball World Series, August 2001


Orel Hershiser – 1988 Cy Young Award Winner, ESPN Little League Baseball® World Series Broadcaster

“My family functioned around Little League®. Our dinner hour was scheduled around game time … my mother ran the concession stand and my dad was a coach and District Administrator in Southfield, Mich.”

~ 2010 Little League Baseball World Series


Billy Hunter – Little League graduate, Former Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, Former NFL Player

“Playing instilled in me a hunger I just couldn’t quench. Little League was the catalyst to get me into other sports. It created within me a desire to excel not only on the athletic field, but also academically.”

~ LittleLeague®.org, 2001


"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."

~ 2000 Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Torii Hunter - Major League Baseball Player

“My participation in Little League® opened doors for me, and showed me there were other opportunities in life that I could have with hard work and perseverance.”

~ LittleLeague.org, 2007


Derek Jeter – Little League graduate, New York Yankees shortstop

“I liked the idea that I was playing for fun, because that’s what baseball should be at that age – fun. For me, Little League was about having a good time, and I did.”

~ Little League® Magazine, 2001


Richard Kauffman - Volunteer in Venezuela’s First Challenger Division Pequeña Liga Fundacion Reto

“It was easy to get the community excited about the program and we’ve broken down some barriers by projecting the idea that boys and girls with disabilities are no different than anyone else.”

~ LittleLeague®.org, 2012


Stephen D. Keener – Little League graduate, President and CEO of Little League Baseball and Softball

“Little League is about teaching children how to win, and be humble. To lose gracefully, and not get too upset about it, as long as they have played their best. It’s far more important to just be a part of a team, part of a group working toward a common goal. Those are the lessons children learn in this program.”


Dennis Lewin - Former Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors; Former Coordinating Producer for ABC’s Wide World of Sports; Former Senior VP of Production for ABC Sports

“What made ABC’s Wide World of Sports and the Little League Baseball® World Series so special was that we got people to care about other people. This unique style grabbed viewers and got them involved in events in which they had not previously been interested.”

~ Little League BaseballWorld Series, August 2008


Brent Musburger – Sports Broadcaster

“I grew up on the Little League® field in Billings, Montana, and my dad was my coach. That introduction to baseball fueled a lifelong interest in sports.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball®


Mike Mussina – Former Major League Baseball pitcher, member of Little League® International Board of Directors

“As a Little League® coach I’ve reminded my players to hustle, run everything out and always play hard. I tell the team all the time, ‘Anyone can do it when it’s easy.’ Sometimes kids need to be reminded to keep working to get better and that’s how you become a team.”

"There are little competitions inside every game. I remind each player that it’s one little competition at a time. Every contribution can be big even if it’s small, because if that competition isn’t won and the contribution isn’t made, it can change everything in a game."

~ 2012 Little League Magazine


Jim Palmer – Three-time Cy Young Award Winner, ABC Little League Baseball® World Series Broadcaster

“Williamsport is just something special. I never would have played baseball if not for Little League®.”

~ 1984 Little League Baseball World Series


Maria Pepe – Her legal case is credited with eliminating the gender barrier in Little League

“Although it was emotional for me as a kid, I’ve grown a lot from the experience. I was a key figure in the 1970s evolution of girls’ sports, and had an influence on many girls’ lives.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball


Kyle Petty – Former NASCAR driver; Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“Some days you win, some days you lose. Some days you’re the best and some days you’re not. But, no matter what, be the best that you can be. Regardless of the outcome, it’s important to be, not only a gracious winner, but also a gracious loser. If you lose, congratulate the other team because they played just as hard as you did.”

~ 2010 Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Sylvia Pressler, Hearing Examiner, New Jersey Civil Rights Division – November 1973

“The institution of Little League is as American as the hotdog and apple pie. There is no reason why that part of Americana should be withheld from girls. We must start somewhere in reversing trends in this society. Girls should be treated no differently than boys.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball


Nolan Ryan – Hall of Fame pitcher; Former Owner of MLB’s Texas Rangers; Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“Little League was a great period in my life. We never won a championship, but we tried real hard. I guess that is Little League is all about – Trying.”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball


Mike Schmidt – Three-Time National League Most Valuable Player, Hall of Fame Third Baseman; Hall of Excellence enshrinee

“I can’t wait to get involved in Little League as a parent. My son is certainly going to play. There can’t be anything better for him.”

~ 1991 Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Roy Smalley – Former Minneapolis Twins player and Pitch In For Baseball Board of Directors President

“Playing Little League® was one of the happiest times of my life. I’ll never forget the feeling of sheer joy I had when I put on my first Little League uniform. Sadly, we only got to play two games a week. I would have played two a day.”

~ LittleLeague.org, 2013


Michele Smith – Two-Time Olympic Softball Gold Medalist

“I get the sense that Little League® Softball players have a growing feeling that they matter, belong and are special. That’s how I know we are making a difference.”

~ LittleLeague.org, 2009


Carl Stotz – Little League Founder

“I wanted [Little League] to be just like the big leagues, but for little boys. So, I was thinking maybe we’d call it ‘Little League.’”

~ Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball


Heather Tarr, NCAA Champion Head Softball Coach, University of Washington

“I attribute all of my wanting to coach with the game of Little League. Those were the favorite times of my life.”

~ LittleLeague®.org, 2006


Jim Thome – Major Leaguer with more than 600 Home Runs

“What parents and kids have to realize is that you have to enjoy the game young. I can honestly say as a kid, the main thing is to have fun playing the game.”

~ Junior Baseball Magazine, March 2009


Joe Torre – Hall of Fame Manager

“Baseball was an important part of my childhood, and I would like to thank Little League® for this recognition.”

~ William A. (Bill) Shea Award Acceptance Speech, August 2013


Glen Tovey - Manager of the 2013 Little League Baseball® Australia Region Champions

“I will never forget the euphoria after recording that 18th and final out in the Region Championship game. I bowed my head on the ground and said my thanks to God and then ran to embrace my players. Thirteen out of 14 were in tears, my son, Michael, being the only one not. His smile was the biggest I had ever seen … we were going to the World Series!”

~ 2013 Little League Baseball® World Series


Pierre Turgeon – Former National Hockey League Player, 1981 Little League Baseball® World Series Participant

“When I joined Little League, the coaches for our team were great. The time they put in made us enjoy baseball, and I was disappointed about not winning the World Series. I wanted the feeling of winning, but looking back over everything and all the things we did to get there is great. Winning the World Series would have made the experience even better, but to be able to come back for the Hall of Excellence is truly an honor.”

~ 2007 Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Julian Vandervelde – Former LLBWS player, Big Ten Conference Football Standout at University of Iowa

“When I was a kid, it was a strange feeling playing at the (Little League Baseball®) World Series in front of thousands of people after playing the same game a few weeks earlier in front of just my family and other moms and dads. Now that I am playing football on Saturdays in front of thousands of fans, it’s the same type of feeling.”

~ LittleLeague.org, 2007


Jason Varitek – Little League graduate, second player to play in the Little League, College and Major League Baseball World Series

“Playing Little League provided me with the baseball building blocks I used throughout my career. Those experiences at a young age set the groundwork for playing and what you do outside of playing.”

~ William A (Bill) Shea Award Acceptance Speech, August 2012


Dick Vitale – Little League Graduate, member of eleven halls of fame, Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“The first uniform I ever had was when I was playing in the Garfield Little League in New Jersey in 1951. Little League is awesome, baby, with a capital ‘A!’”

~ 2012 Little League® Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Shannon Walker – Ohio District 8 Administrator

“The district staff and I staying positive and engaged has been the greatest thing for our district. I have a motto: ‘We’re first among the best.’ That is my goal in everything I do in Little League®.”

~ LittleLeague.org, 2011


Krissy Wendell – NCAA Women’s Hockey National Champion, U.S. Olympian; Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee

“I compare playing in the Little League® World Series to playing in the Olympics because you are representing so many people, and doing something that so many people look forward to. It was so cool because there were always games going on and we all felt so connected.”

~ 2004 Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinement Ceremony


Dave Winfield - Baseball Hall of Famer

“It’s a great thing to watch kids play and participate. I was pleased to learn that a worldwide organization like Little League is doing something about getting children of color to play baseball. I am pleased to get the opportunity to come to Williamsport, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the Urban Initiative.”

~ 2005 Urban Initiative Jamboree at Little League® International


“I’m honored to be able to come out and support Little League®. It is wonderful that an organization like Little League® is doing something to encourage children of color to play baseball. The Urban Jamborees are examples of how we can instill the values of sportsmanship and teamwork while getting kids outside and playing.”

~ 2006 Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree