NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! On this date in history, August 23, 1947, the Little League World Series, a child sporting extravaganza in summertime America, claimed its inaugural champion.
The Maynard Midgets of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the Little League World Series host city, defeated Lock Haven, Pennsylvania in front of an estimated 2,500 spectators to win the inaugural championship.
Sports Illustrated noted on the occasion of the Maynard championship’s 50th anniversary in 1997 that “it took boldness to call this inaugural event a World Series, given all but one of the teams were from Pennsylvania.”
One squad from Atlantic City, New Jersey stood out among the other 12 teams competing in the inaugural Little League World Series.
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The same report states that within 15 years, teams from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia would travel to Williamsport to compete for baseball glory.
According to LittleLeague.org, a clerk for an oil business named Carl Stotz started Little League baseball in Williamsport in 1939.
In the years following World War II, the program’s popularity skyrocketed.
According to the Little League website, “within a few years, news spread about Carl Stotz’s program, and Little League was being played in all 48 states.”
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For youth baseball, the championship game turned out to be a marketing windfall.
Given that all but one of the participating teams were from Pennsylvania, it required audacity to refer to the opening event as a World Series.
The organization states that “Results were printed in newspapers across the nation.”
Little League programs could be found in every state within a few years thanks to the exposure that helped expand the sport across the country.
Additionally, it adds that “Panama, Canada, and Hawaii hosted the first Little Leagues outside the 48 states in 1950.”
Star outfielder Jack Losch, “who became a great halfback at the University of Miami,” was a member of the inaugural Little League World Series winner Maynard, according to History.com.
“Losch was selected eighth overall in the 1956 NFL Draft and played with the Green Bay Packers before they won the Vince Lombardi Trophy before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force.”
“Little League Baseball named the World Series Team Sportsmanship Award in Losch’s honor after his death in 2004.”
According to Little League, the previous 74 Little League championships were split 37 ways between the American and international teams.