New York City is home to many iconic Little Leagues, some of which have been in operation since the 1950s. In addition to co-ed baseball teams, many of these leagues have softball for girls, T-ball for much younger players and challenger divisions for children with special needs. Unlike travel baseball programs, which conduct extensive tryouts, Little League teams are strictly limited to players who live within pre-determined geographical boundaries. Registration costs are also much lower than they are for travel programs. Even though the main season is in the spring, registration often begins in the fall and spots can fill up quickly. Opening days for many Little Leagues is in early April with the season running through June. A sampling of some of NYC programs follows.
Downtown LL has been providing baseball and softball programs to children in lower Manhattan since 1993. Players must live or attend school in an area defined as south of Canal Street, west of Bowery down to the Brooklyn Bridge and west of FDR south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Games are played on fields across Lower Manhattan including Pier 40, East River and Battery Park.
The Greeenwich Village Little League is for players who live in or attend school from Greenwich Village to Chelsea, Midtown West (northern boundary is south side of 59th street) and SoHo. The league is relatively new having been founded in 1984, but has grown quickly and now serves over 800 boys and girls ages 4 -16 playing on over 60 teams. The main spring season has 6 baseball divisions, 5 softball divisions and travel and tournament teams (for (9U-12U players). GVLL also offers summer and fall play and winter instruction out of the P3 facility at Pier 40. Games are played at various locations throughout the city, including the fields at Pier 40 and J.J. Walker in the West Village.
The Peter Stuyvesant Little League has been providing baseball and softball to more than 700 boys and girls on Manhattan’s East Side for 61 years. Games are played on PSLL’s Con Edison Ballfields and Murphy’s Brother’s Park on Avenue C. Registration is for residents or those attending school between E. 10th and E. 72nd Streets, east of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In addition to its popular spring season, PSLL also runs winter and summer programs for ages 4-16.
West Side Little League has been a stalwart on the Upper West Side, affording young players the chance to play on fields in Riverside Park (72nd Street, 77th Street and 103rd Street) with views of the Hudson River. WSLL runs co-ed baseball programs for children ages 5 to 18, softball for girls ages 7 to 18, and a challenger division for players with special needs ages 5 and up. Players (ages 6-18) must between 59th and 120th Streets in Manhattan and between Central Park West and Riverside Drive.
Having just begun play in 1989, the Harlem Little League is one of the newest in the city, providing programs for about 400 young players ages 5 – 12 who live or attend school between 110th to 120th Streets from Frederick Douglass Boulevard to Fifth Avenue and 120th to 160th Streets, river to river. In 2002, a team from the HLL thrilled the city with its deep run in the Little League World Series. If volunteer staff is available, HLL offers summer and fall programs as well as a fall and winter skills clinic. Games are played at Jefferson Park (112th and 1st Avenue), Colonel Charles Young Park (145th and Lenox), Holcombe Rucker Park (155th and Frederick Douglas), Jackie Robinson Park (151st and Bradhurst), Shea Field (18 Mt. Morris Park) and Inwood Hill Park.
Boasting that it’s the oldest Little League in New York City (founded in 1950), the league serves over 500 children ages 4-18 who live in upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Home fields are in Inwood Hill Park. There are also summer and fall leagues and winter clinics. The league’s annual sportsmanship award was once given to Lew Alcindor who, after changing his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, became one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He is now in the Little League Hall of Fame
Also dating back to 1950, The Bronxchester Little League is one of the oldest little leagues in the Bronx. 2018 will be its 68th year of play. From its humble beginnings with four teams, the league now has over 20 teams for boys and girls (softball) in six different age divisions ranging from ages 4 – 16. Games are played at the Hutchinson Metro Center on Waters Place.
The Throgs Neck Little League was formed in 1952 as the Northeast Bronx Little League. Today, the league operates teams for five different age groups out of fields at 150 Throgs Neck Boulevard. Players must reside within the TNLL boundary beginning at Bruckner Blvd. and the Hutchinson River Parkway, along Bruckner Boulevard and along Layton Avenue to the Long Island Sound and along the waterfront to Ferris Point.
The Kingsbridge Little League dates back to in 1951. Its home field at 233rd and 234th Streets and Bailey Avenue is named after longtime community leader and Bronx resident, Conrad “Cooney” Grauer. The field boasts lights allowing for young players to enjoy the thrill of night games. Juniors and Seniors divisions play at Van Cortland Park. Kingsbridge also offers girls softball.
The South Riverdale Little League has been running Little League Baseball and Softball in the Bronx since 1980. Co-ed divisions include T-Ball (4-5 year olds and first time 6 year olds), Pee-Wee (6 and first time 7 year olds), Minor League (7-10), Majors (10-13) and Seniors (13-16). Girls softball includes Minors (7-10) and Majors (11-14)
Another of New York’s longtime leagues, Bayside received its charter in 1952 and still uses the Bayside Little League field in Crocheron Park that opened in 1953. Today, nearly 1,000 children ages 5-17 play on over 60 teams in divisions ranging from Pee Wee (5-6) to Seniors (15-17). As with many other programs, Baysdie LL is co-ed. Girls softball teams begin at age 10.
The Joe Torre East Highway Little League has been a steadying presence in the Marine Park section of Brooklyn since 1954. The main fields are the Joe Torre Fields on East 38th Street between Avenue U and Avenue V as well as other fields across Brooklyn. The league offers girls softball and baseball programs that begin at T-Ball (ages 5 and under) to a college division (21 and under).
The SILL has been operating since 1953, making it Staten Island’s oldest Little League. The league offers co-ed T-ball (3-5 year olds), Coach Pitch (6-7), Minors (8-10) and Majors (9-12). Girls softball plays Minors (7-9), Major (10-12) and Seniors (13-16). The league is based at 225 Seaver Avenue Staten IslandSee more New York Sports Connection articles
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