All-Black Team Competes in Little League World Series
The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars Little League baseball team hit a home run with their acceleration into the Little League World Series.
It’s an all-Black team of budding baseball stars who hail from Morgan Park, a neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side. And during their World Series opener in Williamsburg, Pa., the team proved that they’ve made it this far and don’t plan on going home without taking it all the way—they beat a Lynnwood, Washington team via the mercy rule with a score of 12-2.
The young boys will compete against other leagues from around the globe, in hopes of winning the little league’s highest honor.
The team’s manager, Darold Butler, says making it to the end all-be all of little league baseball has given his team a new sense of confidence and sportsmanship, “We’re going to stay aggressive,” he told the Chicago Tribune. He continued, “And, if you beat us, we’ll tip our cap to you. I think we can win it all.”
This isn’t the team’s first go-round in the Little League World Series, but there has certainly been a lapse in time since it’s first appearance—more than three decades to be exact. But this season the team is on fire, beating out the competition, one game at a time.
Representing the Great Lakes region, the group of young boys have attracted a great deal of attention, even from Major League Baseball players such as Los Angeles Dodgers player Carl Crawford and New York Mets player and Chicago native Curtis Granderson.
“A lot of my friends, guys my age, played in that league,” Granderson told the New York Times. “The fact that people don’t realize there is a Black team means that people are under the assumption that Black kids aren’t playing baseball. Hopefully this could be something that sheds light both in the African-American community and the non-African-American community.”
This sentiment is echoed by Bill Haley, whose father founded the team in 1971. “When you see kids from similar backgrounds and similar situations, you pull for them to be successful and beat the odds,” he told the New York Times.
The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars take on their next competitor, the Mountain Ridge Little League of Las Vegas, Nevada August 17.