Lee Iten American Legion Post 439 will begin its 54th year of sponsoring youth baseball in Highland with a player registration and parent meeting Jan. 21 at the post home, located at 1130 New Trenton Road in Highland. Players who are interested in participating in the summer of 2018 can register between the hours of 2 to 4 p.m. (Players are not required to attend the meeting.)
The Post 439 baseball program will feature three teams again: the Senior Team, which is for players born on or after Jan. 1, 1999; the Junior Team I, which is for players born on or after Jan. 1, 2001; and the Junior Team II, which is for players born on or after Jan. 1, 2002.
American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers over 5,400 teams in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Almost 100,000 youths ages 15 to 19 participate annually. Since its inception in the league has had 10 million players, and nearly 60 percent of current college players are program graduates.
Legion baseball enjoys a reputation of serving the young people who play for it. In college scholarships, the league annually awards a total of $25,000 — $500 for a player selected from each department based upon leadership character, scholarship and financial need. Recently, the Legion passed a resolution allowing corporate sponsorship, in the hope of creating more financial aid for college. Diamond Sports already funds $25,000 in scholarships for the Legion Player of the Year and eight regional players of the year. Eight players receive a $2,500 scholarship and the “Captain” of the All-Academic Team receives a $5,000 scholarship.
American Legion Baseball features the following benefits:
- No player cost
- League play
- Major League Baseball and college exposure
- Media online stats
- State, region, national championship tournaments
- Invitational tournaments
- All-Star Games (Illinois vs. Missouri)
- Supplied uniforms, equipment
- High school and college diamonds
Major League Baseball and American League Baseball don’t have a financial partnership, but the two owe each other a tremendous debt of gratitude. MLB has sponsored Legion Baseball since its inception, and Legion Baseball has returned the favor, churning out major league prospects since its alumni base has been old enough to be scouted. The number of former Legion players who have went to the pros is far too large to chart. More than half of current major leaguers played Legion Baseball. So did almost every working MLB manager, along with several former commissioners. In all, more than 60 program participants are in the MLB Hall of Fame.
American Legion Baseball graduates are proud contributors throughout our society and often are the successful people in their respective career and communities.
For more information, contact Post 439 baseball chairman Wayne Wirz via phone at 618-654-8419 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org; Senior Legion manager Harry Painter via phone at 618-654-4966 or email at email@example.com; Junior Legion manager Kyle Schmidt via phone at (618) 250-9541 or email at Spedyg13@yahoo.net; or Post 439 coordinator Michael Spies via phone at (618) 444-3482 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.