Cover image for Play ball! : the story of Little League Baseball
Play ball! : the story of Little League Baseball
Van Auken, Lance.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvii, 243 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
General Note:
"A Keystone book."

Includes index.
Corporate Subject:
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV880.5 .V35 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



On any given spring evening, 360,000 children around the world can be found on the dusty mounds and grassy fields of a Little League field. With more than four million people playing or volunteering in Little League games every year, Little League is the institutional rite of passage into the quintessential American pastime.

Play Ball! charts Little League's history from the earliest days and shows how, in many respects, its history parallels America's history. A microcosm of American society, Little League reflects, and is affected by, cultural, political and historical trends. Today, Little League is played on 12,000 fields in every U.S. state and in 103 other countries on six continents, and The Little League Baseball World Series, played annually in Williamsport, is watched by crowds of 40,000 each year in person, and by more than ten million on ABC's Wide World of Sports.

The authors were given full access to the Little League Baseball archives and have created a fully illustrated and comprehensive history. Play Ball! contains appendixes including winners of all Little League Baseball and Softball World Series, a year-by-year history of Little League, countries in Little League, and lists of some of the famous people who played the game as children, including Kevin Costner, Mark McGwire, and George W. Bush.

Play Ball! will interest parents, former players and coaches, fans of Little League Baseball, general baseball enthusiasts, and anyone who has ever picked up a ball and bat.

Author Notes

Lance Van Auken was a Little League player from age seven to eighteen. Since 1980, he has served as a Little League volunteer in such capacities as umpire, manager, coach, and league vice president
Robin Van Auken is an editor/writer for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and owner of The Omnibus, a literary agency

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Do you know that George W. was a Little Leaguer? More to the point, humorist Dave Barry is also a graduate of Little League, and he writes an amusing introduction to a solid book about this American institution. Little League has now been around for more than half a century, and this new history fills a gap in library collections that often focus solely on major league baseball history. This well-illustrated, popularly written account should be on the shelves of every library that serves a community with a Little League team. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Dave Barry Recallsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
1 A Man's Game, a Boy's Gamep. 1
2 From a Lilac Bushp. 15
3 Carl Stotz Keeps His Promisep. 33
4 The World Discovers Little Leaguep. 49
5 Little League's Civil Warp. 67
6 Reconstructionp. 87
7 Little League Crosses the Riverp. 105
8 Changing Timesp. 127
9 Girls, Girls, Girlsp. 143
10 Dynasty from the Eastp. 161
11 Into the Twenty-First Centuryp. 185
Appendixes A Capsule History of Little League, and other interesting facts and figuresp. 203
Indexp. 233