The Junior League World Series is a spectacular week-long international tournament for the best teams of 13 and 14-year-old baseball players from around the world. Founded in 1981, the Junior League World Series is the "older brother" of the Little League World Series held annually in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for the best teams of 12-year-olds.
Like the Little League World Series, the Junior League World Series has a storied history. The Junior League World Series began as a tournament for the best teams of 13-year-old players. It blossomed to include 14-year-olds, and now attracts teams from around the globe: Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, Canada and, of course, the United States.
To date, teams have come from:
- 29 different states in the U.S.
- Four Canadian provinces
- Chinese Taipei
- Czech Republic
- Puerto Rico
- Saudi Arabia
- U.S. Virgin Islands
A number of current or past professional baseball players played for teams in the Junior League World Series before making it as stars in the big leagues. They include Gary Sheffield, Eric Bedard, Brett Myers, brothers Jose, and Javier Valentin, Erubiel Durazo, Chad Hermansen, Derek Bell, Delino DeShields, Shannon Withem, Adam Loewen, and Chris Brock. Sheffield and Bell were teammates on the Belmont Heights team from Tampa, Florida, that won the Junior League world championship in 1982. Some future major leaguers may be on the rosters in 2014.
Other future stars to play in Taylor have included Chris Dingman and Steve Reinprecht, Junior League teammates in 1989 with Edmonton, Alberta, who went on to play in the National Hockey League. Matt Cassel (Northridge, California, 1995) is a quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings in the National Football League. Mark "Bo" Pelini, a member of the 1981 champions from Boardman, Ohio, went on to play safety for Ohio State University’s football team and is now a head football coach at the University of Nebraska. Another football star was Andy Mignery (Hamilton, Ohio, 1994), a former tight end at the University of Michigan.