Legion Baseball enforces rule adherence

For the past 86 years, American Legion Baseball has played the game using "Official Baseball Rules" as authorized by the commissioner's office of Major League Baseball, including a few safety modifications adopted by the Legion's National Americanism Commission. It, too, has been a longstanding policy that departments may adopt more restrictive recruiting rules, but they may not approve rules that are more liberal than those established by The American Legion or Official Baseball Rules.

However, over the years, some departments have adopted National Federation of High School Sports baseball playing rules that are in conflict with the Legion Baseball Rule Book and Official Baseball Rules.

To ensure all departments are on the same page, the National Americanism Commission passed Resolution 45 last week during Fall Meetings in Indianapolis. The resolution states that departments who do not adhere to Legion Baseball rules may be subject to suspension and possible removal from the program if violations are not corrected within a timely manner.

The intention of Resolution 45 is not to suspend or remove department programs, but to eliminate the potential risk and liability that the Legion faces if everyone does not comply with the established rules. For example, per Official Baseball Rule 4.17, a game shall be forfeited to the opposing team when a team is unable or refuses to place nine (9) players on the field. A department may NOT modify this rule in any manner.

Additionally, departments (or Leagues) may NOT allow additional players above the 18-man roster during the regular season. And a re-entry rule, as well as a courtesy runner rule, is considered to be in conflict with the existing rules of American Legion Baseball.

Meanwhile, departments will see the following changes to the 2012 Legion Baseball Rule Book, which will be released at a later date:

Rule 1 – A. Bat Rule: All non-wood bats must be BBCOR certified. If any bat fails to meet this requirement, said bat shall be removed from the game, the batter shall be declared out and the head coach or team manager shall be ejected from the game. This rule changes follows the 2012 NFHS rule, which mandates that the head coach or manager is responsible for all equipment in the dugout.

Rule 1 – K. Insurance: Every American Legion Baseball team (both junior and senior) must purchase both group liability and accident insurance from The American Legion’s agent of record (S.A. Van Dyk, Inc.). Coverage must be purchased no later than May 15. Newly formed teams that miss the established deadline shall have until June 1 to submit proof of insurance without penalty. Should a previously registered team miss the established deadline, then they shall have "grace" period until June 1 to purchase insurance, but the team will be assessed a late fee of $200 payable to the department. Missing the June 1 deadline will result in the disqualification from any further competition.

Rule 1 – P. 7 or 9 inning rules for regular season games and Ten (10) - Run Rule: Departments may adopt for the regular season the option of playing nine or seven inning games. The 10-run rule shall apply after seven innings for nine-inning games and five innings for seven-inning games. All district, department, regional and national tournament games will be nine innings.

Rule 4 – D. Transfer Rule: Senior players released from a team must obtain permission on National Transfer Form #76 from that team’s manger to play for the team that is closest to his parent’s domicile. Beginning with the 2012 season, transfers are valid for the current season only. All Senior transfers executed prior to the 2012 season shall remain final and binding through the remainder of the player’s eligibility (previously executed transfers shall be honored, therefore "grandfathering" those players). Junior players will be eligible to transfer in the 2012 for one year. It should be noted that any junior transfers executed prior to 2012 are not valid (illegal) according to previous rule; therefore any transfer executed in 2011 season for a junior player is null and void.

College players: Returning age eligible college players are permitted to return to the team they played for in 2011. These players must have appeared on the 2011 roster. Returning college players are not eligible for transfer. (A player who graduated in 2011 must return and play for their previous team; 2011 graduated players are not eligible to play for any other American Legion team).

Rule 6 – A. Player and Team Registration: American Legion Baseball teams must submit their roster and be approved by their department baseball committee and National Form #1 filed via the national baseball website: www.legion.org/baseball, no later than June 30. Departments have authorization to make roster deadline earlier, but may not extend the date. Violation of this rule will result in the disqualification from any further competition.


  1. At the state tournament, team registers 12 players, in the second game only 11 players on the bench (1 player missing due to a commitment). Tournament Director makes team forfeit due to not having "12 players available to play". MLB rule 4.17 - "A game shall be forfeited to the opposing team when a team is unable or refuses to place nine players on the field." Was the Director correct in mandating forfeit?
  2. I am a returning college player but didnt play last season for my team. Am i eligible to return and play in 2012 for the team i tried out for the previous season?
  3. I have been following the posts left about the rule changes that are to be enforced this year and in 2015. I have been involved either as a player or coach in our American Legion program since 1984. Since that time I have seen teams fold and new teams start up. The problem we face is the same that many small communities around the US seem to struggle with, “pay to play” travel teams. Legion baseball has been the only program for those who wanted to play without having to pay a ridiculous amount of money to do so. We are fortunate that our post provides 100% of the funds needed to field a team each year. Our players do not pay a dime to play American Legion Baseball. However there are costs that they do incur like gas, time from work, etc. This is the first time I have ever heard of some teams using the re-entry rule. Teams in our area did use the Courtesy Runner for the pitcher and catcher, not only to get a few extra kids in the game, but also to help speed it up. We also did use the 15-run rule after 5 innings. I believe that if you are getting beat by 15 after 5 then you are not going to win anyway. When our District Tournament started we all went back to the National Rules governing the game. The rule change that is the most troubling to me is that no player may play after his freshman year in college. Over the last 6 years I have had 7 young men come back to play after their first year in college. The funny thing is that not one of them played college baseball. They simply wanted to play baseball for one final year. I have seen some posts that they like the idea of having Legion Baseball as a high school age sport. I say that if you have 19 year olds tryout for your team and you would rather have 15-16 year olds then simply cut the 19 year old kid. People have posted that they would like to see the roster expanded to 25 per team. That may be great for a team in a large metropolitan area, but we struggle to get 16-17 players each year. Expanding it to 25 would mean nothing to us. I realize that with any change some people will be mad while others will be happy. Different teams struggle with different issues all over the country. You have the perfect situation where you could have asked each manager their thoughts on all of these issues. We all must register on-line and that would have been a great opportunity to have each American Legion Post answer some questions about what they would, or would not, like to see happen to our organization. I love American Legion Baseball and I want to see in grow and more than that I want the youth to want to play American Legion Baseball.
  4. We are a small town in N/W Kansas that enjoys our Legion Baseball team. The new rules that are being chosen to be used in the upcoming years will sadly destroy Legion Baseball in rural America. It use to be in the summer that kids could enjoy their summer and relax and unwind and play some ball. With High School sports opening up summer football and summer basketball and coaches requiring kids to go to camps, trying to field a team is not always easy. We were able to field teams because our seniors no longer had camps and work outs that were required. Our young men in college that had not meet the age requirement liked coming back to small town USA and playing ball with friends. Not sure who is making these choices but from a personal stand point after 2015 it will be mainly large towns having Legion Baseball. The powers to be have forgotten what makes Legion Baseball great, it is the towns and Local Kids competing and having fun. We will continue to have Baseball after 2015 sad part it will no longer be Legion Baseball.
  5. I will not get into the agreement or disagreement with the new focus on enforcing the National rules for American Legion baseball or whether I agree or disagree with various rules. What I find surprising, based on the comments to date, is the number of states (or programs) that have NOT followed the rules such as no re-entry or use of courtesy runners. Yet now when all are asked to actually change and follow the rules, they become upset believing they were right and National American Legion baseball (and ll departments that followed the rules) is wrong for not having these rules in place. Whether a department/program agrees with the rules is not the question, following the rules is our responsibility.
  6. I have been associated with American Legion Baseball since 1992 as a player, a coach, a manager, and now as a President of a League. After meeting with our league regarding the updated rules handed down from National, there is definitely a lot of tension in the air, especially in regard to the rule not allowing starters to re-enter a game once removed. If the goal of American Legion Baseball is have the best brand of baseball available to our youth, then why would this rule ever be adopted? This rule is absurd. For teams that struggle to fill their rosters, this only compounds the problem. Coaches, when signing players up, have to be forthright in telling players that their playing time will most likely diminish due to this new rule. Then, parents and players who are looking at their prospects of playing baseball will jump ship and enroll into another inferior league, that has a different set of rules. This rule along with the abolishment of speed up runners and only allowing a DH for the pitcher will definitely be a detriment to the continuance of American Legion Baseball for our youth. As a strong proponent of American Legion Baseball, I ask you to reconsider forcing these rules upon the different State Departments. In our state of Pennsylvania, these rules have been followed for all regional and state tournaments; however, each league has their own set of By-Laws, some which allow more children to have playing time by allowing courtesy runners, a DH for any player, and re-entry of starting players. Please consider allowing the American Legion Baseball purpose and scope to thrive among more, not less, youth in America! Thank you for your time and I would appreciate a response to our league’s concern. Sincerley, Jeffrey Kovaleski, President District 11-PA, American Legion Baseball
  7. The national organization did not abolish the courtsey runner rule. Becasue rules were inconsistant from leage to league and state to state the state chairmen were ask to vote for the rules one at a time. How many want courtsey runner - majority voted no - How many want re-entry - again state chairmen voted rule down. When the majority of state chairmen don't want a rule... what would you do.
  8. It's good to see there are a lot of other people out there are not happy with the new rules changes! We sat and argued about the re-entry rule for an hour the other night at our meeting. Between that new rule, wood bats next year, and add to that the lack of any Legion Post sponsorship (which is a joke), can someone please tell me why any of us are still playing ALB? After coaching 21 years (14 in ALB), I can honestly say that I am looking forward to coaching in another league. Sad to say. After attending a coaching clinic in Cherry Hill, NJ last week, I still have yet to hear anyone who is actually in favor of changing the re-entry rules. However, there have been MANY who are adamantly against it. But let National do what it wants. They will wake up when they look around and see they have decimated the program and will be begging everyone to come back.... but by then, it will be too late!!!!
  9. We have played in Wisconsin with an 18 player limit for as long as I can remember and our participation in going up. I don't have a problem with taking out the re-entry rule. If you are complaining about participation, then play more games. Allow your other players to start more often, this only develops your players more. There are still ways to make your program appealing to kids, work harder for the kids.
  10. These rule changes are going to negatively affect our program in a big way. We struggle to get enough kids on certain weekends during the summer the way it is. Between basketball tournaments, football camps, kids trying to go to baseball showcases. By limiting the rosters to the 18, the only teams that will succeed are those from the bigger metropolitan areas. If you are trying to keep it for those people then tell us and the rest of us will join or play through other organizations. We are already in the process of looking at other avenues. We have three teams SR., 17u & 16u. Without having re-entry, limiting rosters to just 18, we are going to be in trouble
  11. I agree please increase the Roster even if just for Jrs. I know this would help with pitching . I hate bring a kid in from a fielding position to get just 8 warm up pitches. Increase in roster would allow more player to expirence the game. As for reentry well I do agree it would make life for a coach easy but hey its a part of the game. The runner issiues ( for Catcher and pitcher) I was given to beleive it was a game speed issue to make game move faster.
  12. Why doesn't Nat'l want to get more players involved with ALB by increasing the roster? If ALB follows American League MLB rules, then shouldn't the roster limit be set at 25? Would appreciate answers to my questions. Respectfully submitted, JEFF
  13. I fail to see how the elimination of the re-entry option in the regular season only is going to do anything but decrease or end the popularity of legion baseball in my area. We have many competitors for our players. Most our of the elitest nature. Our legion emphasizes local, player-friendly competition. Without the re-entry rule obviously less kids will get opportunities to participate. Not all are stars and may be content to play a few innings or get an at bat. Considering the multitude of outside interests that kids to day have, it is unreasonable to expect a kid to sit day after day without getting dejected and quit. Is that what we really want to accomplish with the legion baseball program? We play in a league which usually fields 14 or 15 teams. We are looking at our options to take the entire league elsewhere. I have always been proud of my 14 years as a manager in leagion baseball. However, given the restrictions placed by national, leaving legion baseball as a league may be our only option to survive. It would be a shame if some out-of-touch decisions on re-entry and other rules lead to a significant reduction or total end to this fine program.
  14. Prohibiting re-entry and courtesy runners will make it harder for coaches to get more players into the game. As a result, teams are likely to carry fewer players on their rosters. The emphasis of American Legion ought to be on participation and developing players. That is especially true for the Junior Legion level. The "one size fits all" ban on limited substitution is contrary to those purposes. Another factor to consider is the degree of competition that Legion baseball faces, not only from other baseball programs, but also from the football coach, the wrestling coach, the basketball coach, etc. who discourages kids from participating in baseball so that they will train for his sport during the summer. In order to be competitive, Legion baseball has to offer kids a realistic opportunity to get in the game. Limited substitution provides a greater ability to do that. What in the opinion of the National Americanism Commission is so evil about limited substitution that is worth limiting the ability of the sport to attract athletes? It's reasonable for National to want to standardize the rules across the nation, but it's also appropriate to allow states some degree of flexibility to operate their programs in a way that best fits the needs of their players and coaches. Why not spell out a set of acceptable rules governing Limited Substitution and make those available to the states on an "opt in" basis? When you have your Regionals and ALWS, require everyone to play by the most restrictive rule set without the options. But give your Departments some flexibility during their regular season (albeit confined to what National has pre-approved) to meet the needs of their local market. We have longtime coaches in our state who believe that doing away with limited substitution is the most harmful and boneheaded thing that the National office of American Legion has ever done. If you want to remain in the baseball business here, perhaps you should start listening to them.
  15. I am starting to wonder if the American Legion is trying to get out of the baseball program with the rule changes. With minimum player rules and doing away with the various re entry rules at the league level we will be losing ball players as well as teams. WE SHOULD BE EXPANDING PARTICIPATION NOT LIMITING IT WITH THESE ONE RULE BOOK RULES. The people that make the rule changes are not talking to people at the league and team levels especially in the rural areas. Sad state of affairs with the changes that you are putting in place. You are going to lose many teams. The writing is on the wall.
  16. Congratulations! If ALB is looking to enpower Sr Little League, Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth, and travel ball, they did a great job with the rule changes! Not allowing any form of re-entry during league play is going to drive kids away from the program. I can guarantee you, give it no more than 3 years and our entire league will no longer exist. And if what I hear is coming down the line very soon, wood bats being mandatory, but not allowing composites... I'm glad I am hearing all of this now. I can start fundraising now to get the money to go play travel ball. It will be cheaper! Oh, and just to throw this one in... There aren't very many teams who get a single nickel from their American Legion posts. You're going to see American Legion ball go the way of the dinosaur.
  17. If National wants ALB to compete with the travel/showcase teams, then the roster needs to be increased to 20 or 22. Why wouldn't National want to get more young men involved with ALB? If ALB is following the American League MLB rules, then why is the Legion roster limit set at 18 and not 25?
  18. Dear National Committee: Respectfully, I appreciate the tradition of ALB adhering to MLB rules. That said, kindly send me some major league box scores where the manager has used 18 players in a seven inning game. Even better - please send me a major league box score where the manager used his entire roster in a game shortened by the ten-run mercy rule. Then, please add to your coaching manual a section on dealing with and motivating players and parents whose playing time is discouragingly restricted with these rule enforcements. The point is that you yo are dealing with an entirely diferent animal with ALB then you have with MLB. You already know that - that's why there you have granted exceptions to MLB rules. You did and you do have another option - allow the Federation Rules regarding courtesy runers, DH, and re entry. Respectfully, Dr J.
  19. Dear National Committee: Respectfully, I appreciate the tradition of ALB adhering to MLB rules. That said, kindly send me some major league box scores where the manager has used 18 players in a seven inning game. Even better - please send me a major league box score where the manager used his entire roster in a game shortened by the ten-run mercy rule. Then, please add to your coaching manual a section on dealing with and motivating players and parents whose playing time is discouragingly restricted with these rule enforcements. The point is that you yo are dealing with an entirely diferent animal with ALB then you have with MLB. You already know that - that's why there you have granted exceptions to MLB rules. You did and you do have another option - allow the Federation Rules regarding courtesy runers, DH, and re entry. Respectfully, Dr J.
  20. You can only put nine players on field at one time. A good coach has no problem with 18 man roster
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