Baseball isn’t called America’s game for nothing, and Americans of all ages have loved the game so much and for so long that the sport is actually known as the country’s national pastime. Kids’ baseball is also hugely popular because it’s a great way for kids to stay healthy, get active, and meet new friends. There are many kids’ baseball leagues in America, and here's a rundown of the 10 most popular.
1. Little League
Little League International was founded in Pennsylvania in 1939 with just three teams, and now it has teams all over the world. Players can start as early as four years old, and can play in one division or another until they are 18. The youngest boys and girls start out playing tee-ball, and they eventually work their way up to playing regular baseball in higher leagues.
2. The Intermediate Division
Although this is actually a Little League division for 11 to 13 year-olds, it was introduced in 2012 and has become immensely popular since its creation. When launched, the intermediate division only had about 450 teams, but by 2013, it had already grown to include over 2,500 teams. The main difference with this division is the pitching distance of 50 feet, which is farther than the other division for 9 to 12 year-olds.
3. Babe Ruth League
The Babe Ruth League got its start in New Jersey with only ten teams, and today has over a million players. Like Little League, players range from 4 to 20, but the Babe Ruth League is only divided into five separate divisions, and the age ranges within each are much greater than in Little League.
4. Cal Ripken Baseball
Cal Ripken is another division team that’s become just as popular as the parent league, Babe Ruth Baseball. This division focuses on kids between the ages of four and 12, and they offer quite a few subdivisions to accommodate different skill levels and age ranges.
5. American Legion Baseball
American Legion Baseball is an amateur kids’ baseball league primarily for teenaged boys. They operate throughout the 50 states, and over five thousand teams participate in the annual tournament.
6. Rocky Mountain School of Baseball
This Utah-based baseball league is all about bringing young baseball players together through tournaments, camps, and events. For people interested in joining the league as a group, they offer lists of interested players and tryout information to help fledgling teams.
7. Continental Amateur Baseball Association
CABA was created in 1984 from a desire to provide baseball teams with the opportunity to play against similar teams from other parts of America. There are CABA divisions and teams all over the country, and because players start at a later age (the league age range is eight to 19), the teams tend to be slightly more competitive than in other kids’ baseball leagues.
8. Dixie Youth Baseball
This organization operates in 11 states, has its own magazine, offers scholarships, and even has a sports insurance partner. Dixie Youth Baseball is for kids between six and 12, and hosts yearly tournaments and World Series events that bring together teams from different regions.
9. Dizzy Dean Baseball
The mission of Dizzy Dean baseball/softball is to provide fun and safe recreation for as many children as possible. It’s an inclusive league that welcomes five to 19-year-olds of all backgrounds and religions. The league places great emphasis on honesty, good conduct, and community. Dizzy Dean Baseball also hosts yearly tournaments, is a non-profit organization, and gives out scholarships.
10. Junior Baseball Organization
This Oregon-based kids’ baseball league has seen a lot of growth over the years. Today, there are nearly 500 teams in this league of nine to 16-year-olds, but when it began in 1948, there were only six teams in the league, and it only included kids between the ages of 11 and 12. Junior Baseball Organization welcomes children of all skill levels and focuses on safety, fair play, and respect.
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ABOUT CAMMI GRANATO:
Cammi Granato is a former captain of the United States women's national ice hockey team, Olympic gold medalist and one of the first women to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. She currently works as a scout for the NHL’s Seattle Kraken organization.
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