Babe Ruth League
In 1951, a group of individuals from Hamilton Township outside of Trenton, New Jersey, who were passionate about baseball and the welfare of children, decided to establish a baseball league for kids aged 13, 14 and 15. The leader of this group is acknowledged to be Marius D. Bonacci and the original name of organization was the “Little Bigger League.” In 1954, Babe’s widow, Claire, had heard of the league and its positive and important impact on the children in the organization. She allowed the league permission to change its name to the “Babe Ruth League.” In reference to the Babe Ruth League, Claire has been known to say, “Babe Ruth was a man who loved children and baseball; he could receive no greater tribute than to have a youth baseball program named after him.”
The 13-15 Year Old Division was the start of the League in 1951. It is here that these young ballplayers first play under regulations and rules on a standard baseball diamond. From there, the kids move on to the 16-18 Year Old Division, which was added in 1966.
In 1974, a 13-Year Old Prep League was added and, in 1982, the Bambino Division (now the “Cal Ripken Division”) was created to attract younger players. Finally, in 1984, a Softball Division was created, designed for girls in age groupings from 5 to 18.
It should be noted that each Division of the baseball and softball programs has its own tournament play and World Series each year. The 16- to 18-Year Old Baseball Division has gained the attention of Major League Scouts from all thirty professional clubs.
At this point, the Babe Ruth League has proudly seen a number of its young players turn into professional baseball players, including Baseball Hall of Famers: Carl Yazstremski, Rod Carew, Jim Palmer, Joe Morgan, George Brett and Nolan Ryan.
Over 50 years since its inception, the non-profit Babe Ruth League has a national, as well as an international presence and is considered one of the premiere amateur baseball/softball programs in the world. Combined, the entire organization boasts over 886,500 players annually, with more than 45,000 teams in over 7,300 leagues.
According to the League itself, “The Babe Ruth Baseball/Softball program, above all, is of, by and for youth. It especially tries to make better citizens through proper supervision of regulation competitive baseball/softball in addition to promoting mental and physical development. In adopting rules, in establishing standards and in all planning, the primary consideration is the welfare of the participants.”