AMERICA'S STRANGEST SPORTS TRADITION: Here's What You Need To Know About The Little League World Series

little league world series


The 2011 Little League World Series gets underway a week from tomorrow.To an outsider, the LLWS must look like a strange phenomenon — little kids playing a child-proofed version of our national pastime in front of 40,000 people (with millions more watching on national TV).

But the LLWS has nonetheless become an end-of-summer tradition for American sports fans since it was first broadcast on ABC in 1963.

Maybe this is because the LLWS falls in the dead zone of the sports calender.

Maybe it’s because watching emotional 12-year-olds react to immense pressure is more entertaining than watching jaded pro players go through the motions.

Maybe it’s because every little team in every little town has a chance to make it on the national stage.

But no matter which theory you subscribe to, TV ratings and general interest indicate that the LLWS is here to stay.

College football and the NFL are weeks away, and the MLB playoff hunt won’t heat up until September so these 12-year-olds are the best show in town.

There has never been a LLWS held anywhere other than the small Appalachian town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Source: Little League

Only 11 teams were part of the first LLWS 1947, but 2,500 fans attended the title game

Source: Little League

Howard J. Lamade Stadium holds 40,000 people. The population of Williamsport is 30,000


Sorry, no alcohol is permitted in the Williamsport complex

Source: Little League

25 countries have sent teams to Williamsport, including some surprises like France, Greece, Poland, and the Philippines

Source: Little League

All but 11 U.S. states have sent teams to Williamsport. Wisconsin is the most populous state to never send a team

Too bad for them, the lucky winners get to meet the president

The LLWS was first broadcast of ABC's Wide World of Sports in 1963. It's been there ever since

Source: ABC Sports

13 girls have played in the LLWS, starting with Belgium's Victoria Roche in 1984

Source: ESPN

Carl Yastremzki became the first LLWS player to become a Hall of Famer when he was inducted in 1989

Source: MLB

Future MLB manager Lloyd McClendon had the best LLWS performance ever in 1971. He went 5-for-5 with 5 home runs and 5 intentional walks

Source: Little League


This year's LLWS gets underway on August 18

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