The Chicago-based Jackie Robinson West Little League was founded in 1971 by Joseph Haley. His son Bill says there were no grand plans of winning state championships or reaching the Little League World Series.
But that’s exactly what happened as Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West reached the series for just the second time since its existence this year.
“I’m sure he never envisioned anything like this,” Bill Haley said. […] On Thursday, the team played its first game in South Williamsport, Pa., beating Lynnwood, Wash., 12-2.
Along with a team from Philadelphia led by a phenomenal young pitcher, Mo’Ne Davis, Jackie Robinson West became an early World Series story line. A similar sentiment surrounded a team from Harlem in 2002.
Bill Haley said he remembered cheering for that team. “When you see kids from similar backgrounds and similar situations, you pull for them to be successful and beat the odds,” he said.[…]
On Thursday, the team played its first game in South Williamsport, Pa., beating Lynnwood, Wash., 12-2.
The team has attracted attention from the likes of Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson, who group up in the suburbs of Chicago.
Granderson started playing baseball in the Lynwood Little League, but said a lot of his friends played in Jackie Robinson West. “The cool thing is the way people talk about it,” Granderson said. “Like, ‘Wow, there is an all-black team out there; I didn’t know there was an all-black team playing.’
“The fact that people don’t realize that 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.”
Wonderful. This all-black squad brings a refreshing breeze to a sport that many say needs resuscitation.
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