The Little League World Series may not bring the same types of ratings as its Major League counterpart, but for many kids, it is a vital part of their growth into professional baseball players. Plus for fans, it is their introduction to the next generation of baseball talent.
It’s been going on since 1947, and has hosted some of the greatest players in baseball history before we knew who they were, but which states have fared best?
Before stepping into the American champions, we cannot ignore the globalization of baseball, and as such, there have been several international champions throughout the run of the LLWS. Japan, the largest baseball nation overseas, has dominated the World Series since 2010, winning five during that span and 11 overall, including in 2018.
Japan, however, does not have the record. That would go to Taiwan, who won the Little League World Series 17 times from 1969 to 1991, although they have not been able to repeat this success since then. Other countries, such as Mexico, South Korea, and Venezuela have all won multiple times in their history, as well.
Stateside, however, the champions vary.
4. Texas, 2 wins
Of all the states that boast multiple wins at the Little League World Series, Texas is the only one who has won it two times. Although Texas is the land of Friday Night Lights, baseball has been a part of its culture since baseball moved west. Evident by the fact both of Texas’s MLB teams have large fan bases.
One might be surprised, then, that they only have two world series. However, with a tournament that spans across the globe, there is lots of talent to work against.
3. New York, Hawaii, Georgia, 3 wins
It makes perfect sense that the team who grows up with many cheering on the Yankees would inspire a young generation to pursue baseball, so New York’s place on the list makes a lot of sense. The same could be said about George, whose Braves are among the most recognizable brands in baseball. Hawaii might surprise people, however.
Hawaii boasts no major professional sports teams, although it does boast many college programs and other sports. It has seen great success since 2000. In fact, the three World Series that they have one is the most of any state since 2000.
2. Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, 4 wins
Many of these state’s titles came when baseball was still very much an East Coast sport, with only New Jersey winning multiple times after 1970.
However, looking at these states’ victories shows an interesting look at what the expansion of baseball could do for an area, and how the move westward didn’t only shift the landscape of Major League Baseball, but of the way it was played at every level.
1. California, 7 wins
California stands alone atop the states with seven wins, and their wins also coincide with baseball’s move west. All of California’s wins have come in close proximity with one another, with a three-peat in the early ’60s, a repeat in 1992 and 1993, and wins in 2009 and 2011.
California has a young, but rich relationship with baseball, with five teams now playing inside the state, and the Giants and Dodgers having especially large influences on the state,
Looking at the list of Little League World Series champions, it makes sense that the map of winners is diverse. Although many people think of baseball as quintessentially American, it is expanding across the world, and before long there may be more states and countries joining this list of champions.