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Played each year in August, the Little League World Series is a tournament for young ball players between the ages of 11 and 13. The tournament allows teens from all over the world to compete in baseball and softball games in Pennsylvania.
First played in 1947 the tournament initially featured a full slate of US teams; however, the worldwide growth and popularity of baseball soon led organizers to include international teams. Taiwan holds the title of the country with the most wins. Japan's team has reached the final game in each of the last four years.
Controversy Erupts in the 1970s
After the success of international teams at the series in the late 1960s and early 1970s, organizers decided to ban all non-US teams. Considerable uproar over the 1975 ban led to a reversal of the decision just a year later.
The Infamous 1992 World Series
Further controversy would emerge during the 1992 tournament, when the Zamboanaga City team from the Philippines steamrolled the competition and emerged as victors under suspicious circumstances.
Investigations revealed the team brought ineligible players from other districts to play at the 1992 World Series. Additionally, journalists investigating the team found that some players on the team were as old as 15. The revelations led Little League organizers to strip Zamboanaga City of the title.
Major League Players Start Young
Several Major League Baseball (MLB) players began their careers as Little League players and many teens dream of following in the footsteps of these MLB players:
Worldwide Popularity Grows
Capturing the hearts and minds of parents and players across the globe, the tournament also receives attention from major television stations. ESPN broadcasts the tournament each year and several regional qualifying games also find their way to broadcast television.