Friends Help Little League Teams from Brooklyn,
Los Angeles Attend White House Tee Ball Game
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (July 6, 2007) â€“ Thanks to some help from some good friends, Tee Ball teams Brooklyn, N.Y., and Los Angeles will square off at the White House in a tribute to the legacy of the late Jackie Robinson.Details of the event were announced today by the White House Press Office, and by Little League International at separate news conferences in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
The â€œTee Ball on the South Lawnâ€ game on July 15 will feature teams from Brooklynâ€™s Inner City Little League, and the Wrigley Little League of Los Angeles. They are the two cities that the Dodgers have called home, and where Mr. Robinson spent his entire Major League career. As the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century, Jackie Robinson overcame barriers throughout his career, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Helping to make the trip possible for the Los Angeles team are two trustees of the Little League Foundation (former Dodgers president Peter Oâ€™Malley, and the chairman of the Poongsan Corporation in South Korea, Jin Roy Ryu), and the current owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Frank and Jamie McCourt. The New York Mets are supporting the Brooklyn teamâ€™s trip.
â€œBoth of the teams that will play in this Tee Ball game come from programs that are part of the Little League Urban Initiative,â€ Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League International, said. â€œIt is important to give these deserving families the support they need to make this experience a reality.â€
The donated funds will provide round-trip transportation for the team, manager, coaches, family members and a handful of other guests, plus lodging and meals for the three-day trip in the Wrigley Little League teamâ€™s case. In the game at the White House, each player will wear No. 42, the number worn by Mr. Robinson.
â€œWeâ€™re grateful to everyone involved for taking part in this initiative,â€ Mr. Keener said. â€œThey know the importance of Jackie Robinsonâ€™s legacy to the future of baseball.â€
In keeping with the tradition of Tee Ball on the South Lawn games, no score will be kept. Each player on both teams will play on defense and bat once in the one-inning game, to be followed by a picnic on the South Lawn for players and families. A baseball autographed by President George W. Bush will be presented â€“ by the president himself â€“ to each player, manager, and coach. Game time is to be announced.
The game is the 17th on the South Lawn of the White House since May 6, 2001, when President Bush began the initiative as a way to boost interest in youth sports among children and parents.
President Bush, the first former Little Leaguer to be elected to the nationâ€™s highest office, played Little League Baseball at Central Little League in Midland, Texas, in the mid-1950s. He was on the Cubs, and was a catcher. In 2001, President Bush was enshrined in the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence when he visited the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
This will be the second game of the 2007 Tee Ball on the South Lawn season, the first to feature a team from New York City, and the first to include a team from the West Coast. A team from Uniondale Little League in Long Island, N.Y., is the only other team from the state of New York to have played on the South Lawn, on May 5, 2002.
Little League Baseball and Softball is the worldâ€™s largest youth sports organization, with nearly 2.7 million children participating in every U.S. state and dozens of other countries on six continents. Little League is the only youth sports organization to be chartered by the U.S. Congress.