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THE VERDICT
Kenneth Rudeen
August 26, 1957
Concluding a nationwide survey of Little League problems, Sports Illustrated presents the arguments, pro and con, and THE VERDICT
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August 26, 1957

The Verdict

Concluding a nationwide survey of Little League problems, Sports Illustrated presents the arguments, pro and con, and THE VERDICT

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•As a source of future baseball players Little League has done much to insure the lasting quality of our national game.

•On the question of competitive pressure for youngsters who might be harmed by too intensive play, Little League would seem to have a good case for a plea of "not guilty." We have seen that, in practice, competitive pressure seems to be no worse than in comparable sports engaged in by children of the same age; that the effects of intensive play, if any, are usually temporary and that Little League officialdom is aware of the danger and seeks to guard against it.

•On the issue of the Little League World Series we have seen that the junior World Series tournament can seriously disrupt local play and that, of all forms of Little League play, it is most likely to lead to excesses of competitive intensity. The World Series would seem, on balance, to be of doubtful value.

•On the issue of adult overemphasis and interference with Little League play, we have seen that parents and managers, in too many instances, permit themselves to be carried away by misguided ambition and a competitive spirit which is not in keeping with Little League principles and which can seriously hinder or harm their children's enjoyment of baseball and warp their judgment of the game. Clearly, a serious word of warning to the adults concerned—and in particular to over-zealous parents—is in order. The importance of common sense, understanding and fair play on the part of parents and managers cannot be overemphasized.

•In conclusion, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S survey clearly indicates that Little League, taken as a whole, is a praiseworthy undertaking, and one that is here to stay. A splendid program in theory, it can, in execution, form a magnificent combination of boyhood opportunity, adult satisfaction and community spirit. Undoubtedly, it will flourish in the future—as it deserves to.

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