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c. 1960s

Big plays in the Little League World Series games of the ’60s

As American as apple pie

Play ball!

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the first Little League baseball game ever played.

At the time, the League was very little indeed. Its first incarnation, in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, had just three teams, each sponsored by a local business. From those three teams, the League has grown to some 200,000 teams across the U.S., and in 80 other countries around the world.

Carl Stozt, a Williamsport resident, had come up with the idea of a junior baseball league in 1938.  He, his two nephews, and their friends, played a bunch of games that summer, trying out different playing field layouts and dimensions. The following year, the Little League formally began.

Over the next eight decades, the League has created many professional baseball players, and has also boasted an American president in George W. Bush.  And yet, it wasn’t until 1973 that girls were allowed to play. 

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These pictures were taken ten years before that sea-change, in the mid-1960s.

1961
Cars surround the field at the 1961 Little League World Series game in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Robert Riger / Getty Images
1961
The National Anthem before the 1961 Little League World Series game between Hilo, Hawaii and Montreal, Quebec, Canada at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport.
Robert Riger / Getty Images
1966
Little leaguers in preparation for a game at the 1966 Little League World Series.
Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images
1960s
A Little Leaguer sliding back to the base as the first baseman tries to catch the ball during a game between two teams from Kings Point Little League, Kings Point, New York.
Hy Peskin / Getty
1960s
Ouch! One of the King’s Point Little Leaguers gets hit with a pitch.
Photo by Hy Peskin / Getty Images
1961
The pitcher prepares during the 1961 Little League World Series game.
Robert Riger / Getty Images
1961
A pitch is launched.
Robert Riger / Getty Images
1961
The ball mid-air.
Robert Riger / Getty Images
1961
A swing and a miss!
Robert Riger / Getty Images
1960s
A Little Leaguer sliding back to the base as the first baseman tries to catch the ball during a game between two teams from Kings Point.
Hy Peskin / Getty Images
1961
Swinging the bat during the 1961 Little League World Series game (looks like a bunt).
Robert Riger / Getty Images
1960s
It’s a swing and a miss.
Hy Peskin / Getty Images

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