History of the Babe Ruth League
From the Babe Ruth Official Website (http://www.baberuthleague.org/)
Over fifty years ago, a group of men dedicated to the youth of America met in a suburb of Trenton, New Jersey, and formed what became the very first Babe Ruth League. This group of men eventually agreed to name Marius D. Bonacci as the “founder” of the program which was initially registered under the name Little Bigger League. The program was renamed in 1954 when Claire Ruth, Babe Ruth’s widow, who had learned of the merits of the organization and its tremendous growth, met with the administrators. She subsequently gave the organization permission to change its name to Babe Ruth League. She has been quoted as saying, “Babe Ruth was a man who loved children and baseball; he could receive no greater tribute than to have a youth baseball program named after him.”
Babe Ruth League, Inc. caught on nationally, then internationally. It now ranks as the premier amateur baseball and softball program in the world.
Babe Ruth League, Inc. has increased steadily from its first 10-team league in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, to its present combined size of over 886,500 players on some 45,200 teams in more than 7,315 leagues.
The success of the Baseball and Softball program is due to the millions of volunteer hours spent every year. Every volunteer, from the local League Manager to the Chairman of the 17-member International Board, is dedicated to the betterment of youth, while at the same time producing better players.
A seven-member Executive Staff, assisted by Regional Service Representatives, maintains Babe Ruth's International Headquarters at 1770 Brunswick Pike in the suburban Trenton community of Lawrence Township with an additional office in Pfafftown, North Carolina.
Local leagues are independent within the guidelines provided by Babe Ruth League International Board.
The Babe Ruth International Board is the governing body while Babe Ruth Headquarters is the administrative and promotional center.
It is the 13-15 Division, started in 1951, where the players get their baseball feet wet for the first time under regulations and rules on standard diamonds. Each chartered league is eligible to enter a team in tournament competition. District winners go into statewide competition with that successful club qualifying for one of eight regional tourneys. This division's first World Series was held in 1952.
The next stop in the baseball ladder for young players is the Babe Ruth 16-18 division, born in 1966 and showing remarkable growth and success. Teams follow a similar route as their 13-15 counterparts with the highlights of the campaign being the 16-18 World Series, which was first held in 1968. This series has gained the attention of Major League Scouts from all 30 clubs.
In 1974 the 13-year-Old Prep League was added with the first 13-year-Old World Series being held in 1980. In 1982, Babe Ruth Baseball added yet a third division to its program - the Bambino Division. In 1982, the Bambino Division expanded to all existing areas of the Babe Ruth program. It was a huge success as the division tripled in size from the number of teams that participated in a test pilot program in 1981.
Starting in 1983, each of the eight Babe Ruth Baseball regions offered Bambino tournament competition up to the regional level of play, with the first World Series being held in 1984.
In 1994, Babe Ruth Baseball organized its First World Series for 16-year-old players. Carmel, Indiana was the host of the first 16-Year-Old World Series.
Babe Ruth League added another dimension to its program in 1984 - a Softball Division designed for girls. The Softball Division is open to Babe Ruth League's current age groupings from 5 to 18.
The Softball Division was organized because Babe Ruth League recognized a need for softball on the girls' level and a desire for affiliation with an established national program.
The Babe Ruth Baseball/Softball program, above all, is of, by and for youth. It especially tries to make better citizens through proper supervision of regulation competitive baseball/softball in addition to promoting mental and physical development. In adopting rules, in establishing standards and in all planning, the primary consideration is the welfare of the participants.
Babe Ruth Baseball/Softball would make the baseball immortal for whom the program is named very proud. Youth always had a special place reserved in "The Babe's" heart.