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The "Little League World Series" - A Slice of Americana and List of Champions

Updated on January 11, 2019

We now have a new "Little League World Series" Champion! Today Japan defeated Hawaii 4-1 in the final game at the home of this prestigious international event complex in Williamsport Pennsylvania to become the 63rd team to hold this coveted world title. The culmination of another exciting youth orientated season of baseball comprised of youngsters ages 11-13. Japan traditionally fields a solid team, so this victory came as no surprise, always well disciplined and masters of the fundamentals. Also, a big congratulations to our U.S. representatives from Hawaii who fielded exceptional talent and played an outstanding and very competitive game. Finally, congratulations to all the young men and women from all over the world who year after year provide us with some of the most exciting and entertaining baseball games we could ever hope for. The significance of winning this tournament cannot be under stated nor under appreciated by the fans. As I watched the final game in amazement and awe of the finely tuned players, I decided to briefly document the long hard journey a little league baseball team must endure and the lofty level of fundamental skills which each youngster must attain and excel at just to qualify for this prestigious event let alone win the championship. I hope you enjoy the following in-depth chronicle of the basic structure in which the teams engage to reach this world renown competition.

Road to Williamsport

Needless to say, the road to the Williamsport Tournament is not an easy one. It's a very long strenuous adventure which takes proper conditioning, motivation, desire, character and of course a certain degree of talent. There are hundreds of leagues throughout the nation and only a mere handful will actually qualify and move on to the tournament. The regular season begins in March with tryouts, drafting of the team players, then on to spring training. The regular season schedule is played and concludes in June at which time the winning team is decided. Once the regular season ends, the manager or coach with the best winning record is usually designated manager of the all star team and now it's up to him or her to select participating coaches and assistants and draw upon their experience, expertise, and motivational skills to build a cohesive team capable of competing and potentially qualifying for an opportunity of a lifetime, a trip to the Williamsport Little League World Series. After extensive consideration, consultation with peers and statistical review of every league player, the All Star Manager of each team within its respective league, assembles the roster of players. Once the all star team is selected, the rigorous task of training and conditioning these young players to the point where they can effectively compete with the best of the best in district, sectional, divisional, regional and state tournaments begins. If all this hard work pays off and they are successful in winning 4 or 5 successive qualifying tournaments ( listed below ), they move on to the national competition in Williamsport Pennsylvania where the next crucial step is to play and win in pool and single elimination games. If all this is accomplished they will be designated as the 1st place team in the U.S. and will then face off against the 1st place International team to determine at last who will reign as the new "Little League World Series Champions".

District - Sectional - Divisional - Regional - State

The teams who are victorious in all of the above preliminary tournaments will advance to the LLWS in Williamsport. They are successive tournaments and a team must win all four or in some cases five to earn that airline or bus ticket for advancement. For the young players who do not advance, they will still take home the experience of a lifetime, one which very few youngsters are privileged to receive. But everyone who participates in Little League Baseball or any other sport of their choice always comes home a winner. They will take with them newly developed physical stamina, endurance, and discipline plus the overall learning experience they can draw upon as they mature and become young adults, just a few more new building blocks added to an ever evolving foundation of growth if you will. So even though they do not get to participate in Williamsport this time around, the tangible and intangible benefits gained by merely participating in a team activity is worth all the time and effort.

Little League World Series History

The history of this iconic event which is a true slice of Americana and great fun for kids and adults alike, dates back to 1947 when the first LLWS tournament was played in Williamsport PA and first televised in 1953. Shortly after inception, the incorporation of global teams has resulted in an event which appeals to a much broader international audience. The first tournament played in 1947, which did not have the benefit of televised coverage, still managed to garner robust attendance, approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people which consisted of a combination of participant parents, vendors, general spectators, and media representatives. Today this event attracts millions of viewers who either attend the games in person or watch via television feed. The decision to broadcast this event via television and radio back in 1953 turned out in hindsight to be a wise one. Since that time, the series has consistently grown in popularity, and the integration of both domestic and international competition has ultimately resulted in the expansion of viewership, a much more diverse audience, and broader based support.

- For future reference, this event is broadcast every summer alternating between network and participating cable stations -

Past Winners

1947 Williamsport, PA
1948 Lock Haven, PA
1949 Hammonton, NJ
1950 Houston, TX
1951 Stamford, CT
1952 Norwalk, CT
1953 Birmingham, AL
1954 Schenectady, NY
1955 Morrisville, PA
1956 Roswell, NM
1957 Monterrey, Mexico
1958 Monterrey, Mexico
1959 Hamtramck, MI
1960 Levittown, PA
1961 El Cajon, CA
1962 San Jose, CA
1963 Granada Hills, CA
1964 Staten Island, NY
1965 Windsor Locks, CT
1966 Houston, TX
1967 West Tokyo, Japan
1968 Osaka, Japan
1969 Taipei, Taiwan
1970 Wayne, NJ
1971 Tainan, Taiwan
1972 Taipei, Taiwan
1973 Tainan City, Taiwan
1974 Kaohsiung, Taiwan
1975 Lakewood, NJ
1976 Tokyo, Japan
1977 Kaohsiung, Taiwan
1978 Pingtung, Taiwan
1979 Hsien, Taiwan
1980 Hua-Lien, Taiwan
1981 Taichung, Taiwan
1982 Kirkland, WA
1983 Marietta, GA
1984 Seoul, S. Korea
1985 Seoul, S. Korea
1986 Tainan Park, Taiwan
1987 Hua-Lien, Taiwan
1988 Taichung, Taiwan
1989 Trumbull, CT
1990 Tainan County, Taiwan
1991 Taichung, Taiwan
1992 Long Beach, CA
1993 Long Beach, CA
1994 Maracaibo, Venezuela
1995 Tainan, Taiwan
1996 Kaohsiung, Taiwan
1997 Guadalupe, Mexico
1998 Toms River, NJ
1999 Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
2000 Maracaibo, Venezuela
2001 Tokyo Kitasuna,
2002 Louisville, KY
2003 Musashi-Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan
2004 Willemstad, Curaçao
2005 Ewa Beach, Hawaii
2006 Columbus, Georgia
2007 Warner Robins, Georgia
2008 Waipahu, Hawaii
2009 Chula Vista, California
2010 Japan

2011 Huntington Beach California

2012 Japan

2013 Japan

2014 South Korea

2015 Japan


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