About Legion Baseball


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American Legion Baseball


The American Legion is committed to America's youth, which is why we have sponsored American Legion Baseball since 1925. The goals of American Legion Baseball are the development of team discipline, individual character and leadership development qualities in young people.

American Legion Baseball is the oldest and largest, nationwide teenage baseball program in America. American Legion Baseball became a National program in 1925. Over ten million teenagers have played American Legion Baseball since its 1925. The first National Championship tournament was held in 1926. In 2002, 5,200 teams registered for National tournament play. Since 1985 the number of registered Legion teams has increased by 27% as compared to a national decline of 23% experienced by other youth baseball programs.

Over 95,000 players, ages 15 to 18, participated in 2002. Since 1985, over 1,700 new teams have registered to play American Legion Baseball. Local American Legion Posts also support and sponsor some 2,500 younger-age teams who are registered with Little League, Babe Ruth, Pony, Dixie as well as many other youth sports teams such as soccer, bowling, hockey, etc.

On an average, 50 percent of Major League Baseball players played American Legion Baseball as teenagers. Nearly 70 percent of all college players played American Legion Baseball as teenagers.

Since 1926, Major League Baseball has honored The American Legion World Series Champions at the Major League World Series. The Commissioner's Office annually presents a plaque to The American Legion Champions on the field at The Major League World Series. The 2002 National Championship team, from West Point, MS attended the MLWS in Anaheim, CA and was presented the Commissioner's Award by Bob Watson, Vice President of Major League Baseball and Sandy Alderson, Vice President of Major League Baseball. Both played American Legion Baseball.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum honors the American Legion Player of the Year with a plaque at the annual induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York. The 2002 American Legion Player of the Year, Ty Henkaline from Ohio will be honored at the 2003 Hall of Fame game.

ESPN telecast the final game of the National Championship from 1988 to 1999.

The American Legion National Headquarters spends approximately $1 million dollars annually to operate and host 64 teams that qualify for the National Tournament. Each year, 1,280 players and coaches on 64 teams compete at eight Regional Tournaments.

Starting in 1998, all National Tournaments were Olympic Pool Play formats, held over a five-day period. Attendance averages 75,000 paid admissions for the eight Regional Tournament sites and 25,000 paid admissions at the World Series Tournament.

The American Legion is the only amateur youth baseball program that funds 100 percent of the cost for hotels, transportation, meals, umpires and baseballs for our National tournaments.

Major League Baseball has supported our program annually since 1926 and currently contributes $35,000 (3 percent of the National budget), which helps offset tournament expenses for American Legion teams at Regional and World Series Tournaments.

Across the country, The American Legion's 2.8 million members have been, and remain committed to, this nation's youth. Our records confirm that 14,000 local Posts of The American Legion raised more than $25 million last year to conduct programs for young people in the respective communities, an impressive amount that pales by comparison to the time, talent and effort given by our volunteers to the young people of America. American Legion Baseball is just one of several major youth programs sponsored by The American Legion as an investment in America's young people. The American Legion sponsors American Legion Boys State and Boys Nation programs, which teaches government to 30,000 high school juniors each year. The American Legion also sponsors more than 2,500 Boy Scout Troops, which helps over 77,000 youngsters develop leadership skills through Scouting. The American Legion High School Oratorical Contest encourages young men and women to learn about our Constitution. Students test their speaking ability in contests that provide $138,000 in scholarship moneys each year. The American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program teaches young men and women about gun safety and starts them on a path of air rifle competition that can lead to an Olympic Gold Medal. The latest American Legion scholarship program is the Samsung/American Legion Academic Excellence Program in which 90 students will be awarded a $1,500 scholarship and the top twelve students will each receive a $20,000 scholarship in 2002.

The American Legion is committed to serving America in peacetime as we served in war. The American Legion has always been committed to assisting needy and disabled veterans and their families. The American Legion is committed to developing America's youth by providing opportunities to learn leadership on the baseball diamond or in a classroom or before an audience.

American Legion Graduates of the Year

Each year The American Legion honors a former American Legion Player who is currently playing in the Major Leagues for his character, leadership, playing abilities and community service. Individuals are recommended by their respective Post. If you would like to recommend a Major League Player who meets these qualities, send a short biography to the Department Baseball Committee for endorsement and forwarding to the National Americanism Commission. Here are those players who have been honored by The American Legion.

Jeff Bagwell
Houston Astros

2003 - Graduate of the Year

Jeff Bagwell - 2003
Luis Gonzales - 2002
Todd Stottlemyer - 2001
Chipper Jones - 2000
Steve Finley - 1999
Tony Gwynn - 1998
Mo Vaugh - 1997
Paul Molitor - 1996
Bob Tewksbury - 1995
Greg Maddux - 1994
Billy Swift - 1993
Terry Steinbach - 1992
Sid Bream - 1991
Harold Reynolds - 1990
Alan Trammell - 1989
Roger Clemens - 1988
Don Mattingly - 1987
Dale Murphy - 1986
Jeff Reardon - 1985
Ryne Sandberg - 1984
Andre Thornton - 1983
Jim Sundberg - 1982
Gary Carter - 1981
George Brett - 1980
Mike Flanagan - 1979
Ron Guidry - 1978
Dave Winfield - 1977
Rick Monday - 1976
Carlton Fisk - 1975
Wilbur Wood - 1974
Johnny Bench - 1973
Al Kaline - 1972
Steven Carlton - 1971
Dave McNally - 1970
Harmon Killebrew - 1969
Mickey Lolich - 1968
Carl Yaztrzemski - 1967
Frank Robinson - 1966
Eddie Fisher - 1965
Brooks Robinson - 1964
Warren Spahn - 1963
Bobby Richardson - 1962
Stan Musial - 1961
Ted Williams - 1960
John Lollar - 1958.


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