History of Little League
Carl Stotz, a resident of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, founded Little League Baseball in 1939. He began experimenting with his idea in the summer of 1938 when he gathered his nephews, Jimmy and Major Gehron and their neighborhood friends. They tried different field dimensions over the course of the summer and played several informal games. The following summer Stotz felt that he was ready to establish what later became Little League Baseball. The first league in Williamsport had just three teams, each sponsored by a different business. The first teams, Jumbo Pretzel, Lycoming Dairy, and Lundy Lumber, were managed by Carl Stotz and two of his friends, George and Bert Bebble. The men, joined by their wives and another couple, formed the first-ever Little League Board of Directors. Stotz' dream of establishing a baseball league for boys to teach fair play and teamwork had come true.
The first League game took place on June 6, 1939. Lundy Lumber defeated Lycoming Dairy, 23-8. Lycoming Dairy came back to claim the leaguechampionship. They, the first-half-season champions, defeated Lundy Lumber, the second-half champs, in a best-of-three season-ending series. The following year a second league was formed in Williamsport, and from there Little League Baseball grew to become an international organization of nearly 200,000 teams in every U.S. state and over 80 countries around the world.
From 1951 through 1973, Little League was for boys only. In 1974, Little League rules were revised to allow participation by girls in the baseball program following the result of a lawsuit filed by the National Organization for Women on behalf of Maria Pepe.
According to the Little League Baseball and Softball participation statistics following the 2008 season, there were nearly 2.6 million players in Little League Baseball worldwide, including both boys and girls, including 400,000 registered in Softball (also including both boys and girls). For tournament purposes, Little League Baseball is divided into 16 geographic regions; eight National and eight international. Each summer, Little League operates seven World Series tournaments at various locations throughout the U.S. (Little League softball and Junior, Senior, and Big League baseball and softball).