MLB Little League Classic
SponsorGEICO
First played2017
StadiumBowman Field[a]
LocationWilliamsport, Pennsylvania
2021 matchup
Cleveland Indians 3, Los Angeles Angels 0
(August 22, 2021)
2022 matchup
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
(August 21, 2022)

The MLB Little League Classic is an annual Major League Baseball (MLB) game held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, first played during the 2017 Little League World Series.[1] The series is part of MLB's effort to get more children interested in and involved with baseball at a younger age.[2]

History

After the success of the Fort Bragg Game between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in July 2016, reports spread that MLB was planning another similar event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, which is the venue for the annual Little League World Series and home to the Williamsport Crosscutters of Minor League Baseball. Many locals of the area and reporters across the nation thought it was almost impossible due to the size and capacity of Bowman Field,[a] as seating for fewer than 3,000 fans seems much less than ideal for an MLB game. As the reports were dispelled by many, the news faded. However, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch column in early March 2017 stated that MLB was finalizing plans for the game.[3]

On March 9, 2017, MLB officially announced the first MLB Little League Classic, selecting the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals as the participants,[4][5] and released the following statement:[6]

"Major League Baseball's greatest responsibility is to ensure that today's youth become active participants in our game as players and fans. The 'MLB Little League Classic' exemplifies our entire sport's commitment to building a stronger connection between young people and the National Pastime. Our players will honor the great tradition of the Little League World Series and create lifelong memories for the Little Leaguers, their families and the city of Williamsport. I thank the Pirates and the Cardinals, Little League Baseball, Governor Wolf, the Crosscutters, the City of Williamsport, and ESPN for helping us organize an unforgettable weekend." — Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Baseball
Josh Bell had four RBIs in the 2017 game.
Josh Bell had four RBIs in the 2017 game.

Prior to the inaugural game, funding from MLB and grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania given to the City of Williamsport provided more than $4 million to improve BB&T Ballpark. These included adding new seats, padding around the infield fence, new irrigation and draining to the field itself, moving the bullpens out beyond the outfield fence, new dugouts closer to home plate, and improved dining areas.[7]

The Pirates defeated the Cardinals, 6–3, in the first Classic, played on August 20, 2017.[8] In late September 2017, MLB announced that a second Classic would be held in 2018, between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.[9] On August 19, 2018, the Mets won the second Classic, 8–2.[10] The third Classic was played on August 18, 2019,[11] with the Chicago Cubs defeating the Pirates, 7–1.[12]

The fourth edition was announced for August 23, 2020, between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles,[13] and was to be the first Classic with American League teams. That game was canceled on April 30, 2020, with the cancellation of the 2020 Little League World Series due to the coronavirus pandemic.[14] The game of August 22, 2021, when the Cleveland Indians defeated the Los Angeles Angels, 3–0, became the first edition contested between American League teams and the fourth overall edition played.[15][16]

The fifth edition has been announced for August 21, 2022, featuring the Red Sox and Orioles (the same matchup as the canceled 2020 game), as a home game for Baltimore.[17]

Games

Bowman Field during the 2017 game
Bowman Field during the 2017 game
Game Date Winning team Losing team Attendance Ref.
2017 August 20 Pittsburgh Pirates 6 St. Louis Cardinals 3 2,596 [18]
2018 August 19 New York Mets 8 Philadelphia Phillies 2 2,429 [19]
2019 August 18 Chicago Cubs 7 Pittsburgh Pirates 1 2,503 [20]
2020 August 23 Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles canceled [14]
2021 August 22 Cleveland Indians 3 Los Angeles Angels 0 1,832 [15]
2022 August 21 Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles [21]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b For sponsorship reasons, the formal name of Bowman Field was BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field from 2016 through 2020; in April 2021, it was changed to Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

References

  1. ^ "ESPN to cover MLB Little League Classic August 20 in Williamsport".
  2. ^ "Pirates and Cardinals will attend the Little League games during the day and the little leaguers will attend the Major League game at night". WTAE-TV. March 9, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Goold, Derrick (March 7, 2017). "Williamsport Calling". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 20, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Cardinals and Pirates have been selected to participate in the first "MLB Little League Classic"". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. March 9, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  5. ^ "Major League Baseball has officially announced that the Pirates and Cardinals will take the field on August 20th in Williamsport". KDKA-TV. March 9, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "MLB ANNOUNCES LITTLE LEAGUE CLASSIC". Baseball America. March 9, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Crosscutters Baseball Field Gets Upgrade Thanks to MLB". WNEP-TV. April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Cardinals vs. Pirates - Game Summary". ESPN. August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  9. ^ Trezza, Joe (September 29, 2017). "Phils, Mets to play in MLB Little League Classic". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  10. ^ "Mets vs. Phillies - Game Summary". ESPN. August 19, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  11. ^ Randhawa, Manny (August 19, 2018). "Bucs, Cubs to match up in 2019 LL Classic". MLB.com. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  12. ^ "Quintana, Rizzo lead Cubs past Pirates 7-1 at LLWS". AP. August 18, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  13. ^ "Red Sox, O's to play in '20 Little League Classic". MLB.com (Press release). August 7, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Little League® Cancels 2020 World Series and Region Tournaments" (Press release). Little League Baseball. April 30, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Reichard, Kevin (August 23, 2020). "Williamsport Little League Classic announced for 2021 season". Ballpark Digest. August Publications.
  16. ^ Bell, Mandy (August 22, 2021). "Cal, Cleveland cruise vs. Halos at LL Classic". MLB.com. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  17. ^ "Red Sox, O's set for '22 Little League Classic". MLB.com. August 22, 2021. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  18. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates 6, St. Louis Cardinals 3". Retrosheet. August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "New York Mets 8, Philadelphia Phillies 2". Retrosheet. August 19, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  20. ^ "Cubs vs. Pirates - Box Score". ESPN. August 18, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  21. ^ @ChrisCotillo (August 22, 2021). "Red Sox will play the Orioles in the 2022 Little League Classic, MLB announces. Set for Aug. 21, 2022 in Williamsport, PA" (Tweet). Retrieved August 22, 2021 – via Twitter.