February 14, 2013 by Matt Musico
One of the wonderful things about the game of baseball is that there are so many teams and leagues throughout the United States and the World. When looking at professional baseball, there is Major League Baseball and respective team’s minor league systems, but also various independent leagues. We sometimes forget that those pro ballplayers had to start somewhere as kids, and the American Legion baseball program has been a huge part of that (especially in my life as well).
Here’s what happened on this date, all the way back in 1928 (except courtesy of National Pastime):
The American Legion baseball program, on the brink of bankruptcy, receives a pledge of $50,000 from Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and the MLB Advisory Council to continue its development of a national championship program for teenagers. With the much-needed funding, Legion Baseball will continue in 1928, and the following season teams in the tournament will be representing every state and the District of Columbia.
Being a product of American Legion Baseball (Beacon, NY, Post 203, to be specific) and seeing where the program is today, I was surprised to see the program was struggling so much that the MLB Advisory Council had to step in 85 years ago to lend a helping hand. However, I’m glad they did; the three years I spent playing for Beacon were three of the most enjoyable summers I’ve ever had playing baseball.
During that time, I had the opportunity to be a part of a team that won our district, as well as placing second in New York State in the 17-and-under division. As I moved up to the 19-and-under division, we weren’t as successful as a team, but we won tournaments and I formed some wonderful relationships with teammates and coaches while taking my own game to new heights. It was incredibly fun to play for Post 203 because you knew you were representing something meaningful to the community.
It’s also refreshing that the MLB to saw the importance of reviving this program, for all the young ballplayers across the country. I mean, I doubt they would have invested $50,000 into what at the time was a sinking ship in an effort to try and revive it. But, like I said before, I’m certainly glad they did, as I have memories I will carry with me for many years to come.
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