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Changes to baseball eligibility in 2015

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Changes to baseball eligibility in 2015
The 2011 American Legion Baseball World Series in Shelby, N.C. Photo by James V. Carroll

As it stands now, students returning home after completing their freshman year in college are eligible to play Legion Baseball. But come 2015, that will all change - American Legion Baseball will become a junior-high and high-school age program.

Participants in all other American Legion youth programs, such as Boys State/Boys Nation, Shooting Sports and the Oratorical Contest, are limited to those attending high school. Thus, in effort to create uniformity amongst Legion youth programs, the National Executive Committee of The American Legion passed Resolution 46, restricting Legion Baseball player eligibility to junior high and high school students.

As foreseen by the NEC, the restriction will allow more high school athletes the opportunity to play Legion ball, because it will free up the limited number of places on team rosters, which are currently held by college-eligible players. The restriction to high school students will also help increase college coaches and scouts attendance at games and interest in players, allowing the young men a chance to display their skills and talents.

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John

July 9, 2014 - 6:52pm

My son is 12 now. We started him in Kindergarden when he was six. He will turn 19 in the month of April the year he graduates in May. Will he be able to play legion ball the summer after he graduates from high school?

milfordlegionbaseball

July 8, 2014 - 11:29pm

The rule(at least in SE Michigan)is going to kill Legion baseball. We cannot compete with the organizations that offer year round training - showcase tournaments; and recruit players when they are 8-9 years old and continue to hold those those teams together through high school - we cant compete. They wont leave those teams to play Legion ball. Please Mr. Commander; recind this rule

was it rescinded?

June 12, 2014 - 9:06pm

hearing this was rescinded by the national committee on May 8. Anybody else here the same thing?

Chris1

July 7, 2014 - 5:00pm

I heard that 19 year old freshman will be eligible in 2015 I think they shoud have been grandfathered in the first place

Jr. Legion Coach

June 3, 2014 - 2:42pm

I love this rule - it will allow kids who were getting pushed out of Junior Legion to now play. What was happening was our Senior Legion was rostering numerous kids who were age effected college Freshman. So the younger kids, who were too old for Jr. Legion were caught in the middle. Now they'll be rostered where they belong and our Jr. Legion team will roster 16 yr olds as they should! Everyone is in the same boat - no different than high school baseball. I love this move!

Jr. Legion Coach

June 3, 2014 - 2:42pm

I love this rule - it will allow kids who were getting pushed out of Junior Legion to now play. What was happening was our Senior Legion was rostering numerous kids who were age effected college Freshman. So the younger kids, who were too old for Jr. Legion were caught in the middle. Now they'll be rostered where they belong and our Jr. Legion team will roster 16 yr olds as they should! Everyone is in the same boat - no different than high school baseball. I love this move!

Capt.Ron

May 15, 2014 - 6:01pm

ALB had totally surpassed Babe Ruth. Our town will now lose a legion team due to Nationals short sightedness. Thats not increasing the ability of high schoolers to play. Now legion ball is no better than Babe Ruth. Quess thats a win for Select Team tournaments.

Dave Potter

June 15, 2014 - 10:21pm

I agree Legion Baseball just took a giant step Backwards, Junior League will Die because of this. This is Age discrimination

Navy Captain

May 29, 2014 - 2:50am

I find this rule change very distressing as well. My older son played two years of Legion, including the year following his freshman year in college. Now we live overseas and I cannot get my younger boy back in time to go to a Legion tryout before his senior year in HS. I was hoping to still get him on a team next year with a waiver, as we are moving back to the States this August.

Veteran Coach

April 24, 2014 - 5:37pm

What astounds me is that even in the face of overwhelming disdain for the new rule, valid reasons for keeping college players and widespread predictions of the demise of Legion baseball in many parts of the country, the leaders of Legion baseball have not taken any action to rescind a very bad decision, or even answer any of the comments. Once leaders are so out of touch with their constituency, it's only a matter of time before they ruin the very program they are charged with leading.

Matt S

April 9, 2014 - 12:07pm

I coach baseball in South Dakota, the birthplace of ALB. This rule change puts a strain on every program in our largely rural state. Many small-town teams will fold, and their top players will have few options to continue their development. The time for showcase teams to swoop in and take over South Dakota is now, as this is an opportunity to weaken ALB's participation numbers even further.

Coach Bob

March 23, 2014 - 10:29am

I have two players with the same year of birth(1996). one is graduating in 2014 and the other 2015.Player #1(2014)under the new rule will be ineligible next year because he will be 19 and a college freshman. Player #2 Will not graduate until 2015 and will be a high school senior next year. What happens to player #2, is he still allowed to play as a 19 year old high school senior or will he also be locked out? Your thoughts anyone.

Charless

June 24, 2014 - 11:12pm

We have the same situation in our town. The player who will graduate earlier is actually younger than the player who will graduate the year after. The rule makes no sense. It kind of encourages redshirting kids in high school just so they can play that last year. Hopefully, the American Legion will reconsider this rule. The truth is, there were other positives to how the rule used to be. It was great to see a few kids who had been a year to college, come back and really influence the other kids. Some of these kids were great examples to the other kids in showing how important an education is. I feel the American Legion should have been very proud to include these kids in their program--the kids were a real strength in many ways.

Charless

June 24, 2014 - 9:50pm

We have the same situation in our town. The player who will graduate earlier is actually younger than the player who will graduate the year after. The rule makes no sense. It kind of encourages redshirting kids in high school just so they can play that last year. Hopefully, the American Legion will reconsider this rule. The truth is, there were other positives to how the rule used to be. It was great to see a few kids who had been a year to college, come back and really influence the other kids. Some of these kids were great examples to the other kids in showing how important an education is. I feel the American Legion should have been very proud to include these kids in their program--the kids were a real strength in many ways.

Legion dad

March 23, 2014 - 8:25am

We are witnessing the destruction of Legion Baseball by a group that has no clue what its like in the real world.

Bob Romano

March 22, 2014 - 1:46pm

I have been coaching ALB since 1986 at which time we took only high school players. Some time in the 1990's ALB changed to the college freshman rule and we got much more competitive. Now we are taking a step backwards. If you talk to high school players, facing college players is the selling point for ALB because of the competition they will face. If this rule happens we will lose more players to travel baseball. In my 27 years of coaching ALB I have seen the gentleman at the National Rules Committee manage to hurt us instead of helping us. i.e. the reentry rule. Please leave it alone !

Legion Coach

March 23, 2014 - 8:19am

I have done the numbers on my team based on the new rule and I will be lucky to field a team next year. If I do field a team it will be equivalent to a 14-15 Babe Ruth team. Nice work, National!

Coach Bob

June 12, 2014 - 5:03pm

In our town Babe Ruth is King, Legion has always been the Step child. Babe Ruth has won over 70 State Tournaments, While our Teams have not Won anything since 1950's. This rule can only help us build. Thanks Coach Bob

ALB Fan Dad

March 9, 2014 - 11:24am

Travel teams which in many cases are "Pay tp Play" teams will continue to erode American Legion Baseball (ALB) if ALB adopts rules like this that are restrictive. ALB should be looking for ways to increase involvment not limit it. Exanded rosters and age (19) or eligibility (years played)are simple solutions that will allow ALB to compete and thrive. It was only a handful of years ago that 19 year olds became eligible. Whats changed that makes that a bad idea now?

Coach John

December 26, 2013 - 12:44pm

the rule change is very short sighted - it will hurt more than it will help . In the smaller programs who already have a hard time getting enough kids will continue to struggle . If you don't have 4 or more kids come back each year you may not have a team at all . Why not think before you make a change . How hard is this -= No team is allowed to have more than 5 returning college kids . That way the Larger teams do not fill their rosters with college kids and the smaller teams can keep the returning players. This way the try outs are worth something and kids will actually have to SHOW UP and TRY OUT NOT JUST SHOW UP .............

MRL

December 18, 2013 - 12:53pm

So if I understand this correctly, my son who was born December of 1994 can play legion ball in 2014?

Coach John

December 27, 2013 - 9:04am

No , 1994 was the last year he would have been eligible in 2013 see the age chart under How to participate

Gerry Story

December 9, 2013 - 1:34pm

the rule is great it is now back what AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL what for when it was started. I have been involved in legion baseball sent 1992 great job legion baseball committee

Bub 26

November 4, 2013 - 10:02pm

It seems that raising the age a few years ago only allowed talent rich cities to dominate regional and world series play. By talent rich I mean cities that already had a talent pool without bringing back college boys. Adding college boys only loaded up the population from which to choose and prevented more junior players an opportunity to compete. Talent rich cities are not necessarily rich in population but are areas in which legion ball remains popular despite competition from travel teams. I applaud the American Legion for making a difficult decision. Senior ALB belongs in high school/

ConcernedDad

October 23, 2013 - 9:50pm

Do you know what would allow high school athletes the opportunity to play Legion baseball and still allow younger graduates to get to play their full years of Senior ball just like their same-age friends who graduate a year later? Go back to the age limit and determine it by a maximum number of years of eligibility. Athletes would get up to 4 years of legion ball, with the final year of eligibility determined by the age limit. Sound familiar? If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Those who come up through the ranks would play 4 full years, while those who might take a year off or start playing later would only get the remainder of years allowed by the age limit. Look at the numbers, National. How many kids who go on to play college ball would take spots on teams? Not enough to truly affect the majority of rosters. Many teams don't have the problem of too many players...rather, not enough. How many kids who aren't good enough to play college ball, and whose teams do not have enough players to fill out a roster, are being penalized both by the decision by their parents to send them to school early and by the decision by the NEC to disallow participation based on grade level? While the decision may have been made with genuine intentions, I believe a NATION-WIDE look at numbers would reveal the error in thinking, showing more teams forced to combine just to compete and many having fewer than full rosters, with age-eligible kids sitting in the stands instead of playing on the fields. The number of athletes bumped off rosters by returning players is far fewer than the number of kids not allowed to play and the number teams that are on the verge of not being able to field a team. We need to allow kids of the same age to play the same game. Those teams that have the problem of too many players can use the same criteria that all high school and college teams use to set their rosters....ability.

HeartOfaTeacher

October 23, 2013 - 8:38pm

Why not just set the age limits and make them encompass all programs. Programs that are based on academics would only be eligible by students attending high school, while those that are outside of the boundary of school would be governed by the age limits. How hard is that? As long as there is logical, fair, and reasonable debate that goes into making a decision (which is how true leaders operate), the majority of people will be okay with it.

ConcernedDad

October 23, 2013 - 8:20pm

It's time for everyone who is outraged with the rule change to unite in the effort to cause a change. The reasons for the change touted by National are without any validity. Keeping everything equal with the other Legion programs is that essential?....Really? The true effect of the change has already begun to filter down. Our local team is hurting for players and is looking to combine with neighboring communities just to field a team. We will have to pull up Junior players to field a Senior team. Some Pony League players, who need the extra year of growth and experience before starting Legion ball, are being brought up to help fill the voids on the Junior team. These kids have a hard time throwing the ball around a smaller diamond and now they have to run 10 more feet between bases, try to pitch 6 more feet to the mound and throw someone out 14 feet further at second base. Looking ahead to 2015, our numbers are going to be fewer, so any players who could return would be a huge help. None of them will ever play college ball so the opportunity to play another season with their friends is invaluable. A couple of them are actually younger than the rest of the players playing their second and final season. My youngest son was not ready for kindergarten so we had him go to school at age 6. His friend is a couple months younger than him but went to school a year ahead. My son will get to play 2 years of Senior ball while his friend gets only 1 year. How fair is this? National should be ASHAMED and EMBARRASSED to have made such a decision based on such bogus reasoning. This decision should have been made based on national conversations with those who will be most affected. There is still time for National to right a wrong, but it needs to be done NOW so teams and families can plan for the future. And there is still a little time for the rest of to do what we can to affect a change.

Legion fan

March 23, 2014 - 8:22am

Fire the whole group at National !

MiddletownPost25

October 2, 2013 - 1:28am

I know the National Exec board met at national convention. Was there any Changes to the 2015 Age rule? Wondering b/c our state commissioner wasn't very clear on it. Was the rule recinded and changed back to allow 19 years to still play. I would this will be resolved before we select our teams b/c I would like to know can anyone answer?

MiddletownPost25

August 4, 2013 - 11:42pm

I wanted to address the 2015 age rule. I manage the Middletown, DE Post 25 Legion baseball team. We are a small state and only have 10 teams in the league and we compete with travel ball teams, which I'm sure most of us are dealing with. My concern is that this change would cripple our state and will most likely dissolve our American Legion Baseball League. I coach a travel team for several years and saw how distorted it is, with parents buying into this D1 dream. I played Legion baseball in the 80's and it gave me an opportunity to get recruited for college. I came back bc I believe in the cause and what Legion Baseball stands for. The way the rule reads is that after high school you cannot play Legion baseball regardless of age. As of now, I have 12 kids returning next season that will graduate high school and 9 of them will be 17 when they graduate from HS, so is this fair to tell them sorry you cannot play. Our local Semi pro league isn't an option bc they aren't 19, so where do they play. A lot of our area colleges send there kids back to legion to play baseball. What if a kid is born a certain time that requires them to be in HS at a younger age, so the answer cannot be that the American Legion Baseball Committee is turning their back on you. I believe in this cause for the kids and I would hope that the committee does the same. If a kid is going to turn 18 in his freshman year of college and would still be 18 during the legion season what is the problem. Getting rid of 19 year olds isn't the answer bc the way the rule reads isn't that at all. If you make it a HS only league It will kill legion baseball for our state. I don't believe there should be any change to the existing rule and should continue with the current age requirements. If you took a poll thought the country it might tell you what most of us think. I only think it's fair to poll all GM and Managers of each team and come up with a voting system and see what the masses say, instead of just a few making the decisions. Delaware is a very small state and we need the rule to stand as is in order to survive. To be quite honest, Delaware hasn't had a team in the WS since 1976, so if this change happens we might not ever have a team get there again. It is just dumb to say once your done HS your done with Legion baseball. There are so many kids in our state that graduate at 17, it's just insane to turn our backs on them. But then again, we're a small state so nobody really cares about us. Maybe we should take this is politicians . If this rule change happens then it will destroy Legion baseball in our tri-state area. Then would those of you making this decision be proud of yourselfs. If you took a national vote and the masses vote it in then I wouldn't say a word to it, but if there isn't a vote like this, then I say shame on you.

Waipahu Hater

July 16, 2014 - 5:10am

This is a great rule. This rule should also include graduating seniors of their respective year. Legion baseball is a great league for returning high school players for player development. It makes no sense for college players or graduating seniors to be playing Legion ball. It should be a summer showcase for high school players. College players and graduating seniors already had their opportunity to showcase their talents. We have a team in Hawaii that grabs graduating seniors to form a stacked team which has won five consecutive state championships.

Legion Coach

March 23, 2014 - 7:31am

The problem with National is they have their heads in the sand !

ROBERTD

July 4, 2012 - 11:33pm

I could go on forever with the absurdity of this change. I am involved with a team in a rural area. There are currently 6 teams in our district spread over hundreds of miles. Many of our teams have difficulty getting enough players as is, and the one or two college students who return to play baseball are a godsend and keep the programs alive. If this rule is actually implemented you will see at least a 10-20% reduction in the number of legion baseball teams. Also, what is a better indicator of a players maturity and ability....his grade in school...or his age. Obviously fairness lies in age not academic grade!! I hope something is done to change this before 2015 or it will probably be the end of american legion baseball in my area. So there will actually be less of an opportunity for kids to play, not more. Also, what percentage of college/returning players actually play college baseball. We have many in our area who just love to play baseball..(and compete against others their same AGE!!)

Ian Reuter 10

April 29, 2012 - 10:13pm

This is a very stupid rule. It is very unfair because it will now set it up so that some 19 year olds will be eligible and some will not, so you could end up with a team of 18 year olds against a team of 19 year olds which is clearly not fair. In my case I skipped a grade so now instead of being able to come back from college when I'm 19 I'll lose a year of eligibility and only be able to play till I'm 18. I don't see how this is beneficial it is punishing kids who are smart. It could also happen for any kids who start kindergarten early. I'm strongly against this rule. While it has some positives I believe it has many more negative side effects.

Fleming11

February 13, 2012 - 2:37pm

I have been associated with Legion ball since 1967. I started as a bat boy and worked thru the ranks up to the state chairman position. After years of finally getting the Legion to adjust the age, which was badly needed, they now take a giant step backward to eliminate college kids. What about the kids that graduate at age 16 or 17. We are eliminating kids and will eventually eliminate teams and states. the purpose of the junior program is for the younger guys. This is an absurd rule to limit the teams to high school players. I played under the old rule and graduated in 1974 at age 17. I would have lost my last season based on this rule. You have always had the occasional college player come back. Get rid of this rule now!

Post 63

February 1, 2012 - 8:47pm

Please explain why National thinks that they should interfer with something that most people have never had a problem with. If I was a politician I would say that some one is paying for these changes to happen but since I am not I would say some one is getting very bad info. High schools in Rural America have to compete with all kinds of high school activities in the summer from Legion events, to camps for students, to where in Kansas coaches now can coach football, basketball, and other sports during the summer. If National just wants big cities to have Legion Baseball that is no problem, but don't say it is good for high schools to make the age the same as Boys State and other Legion Activities, and deny kids who have not met the age requirement the oppornity to play ball with friends in the summer. Not sure dollar wise how much money this is going to effect National but local business men have all ready looked into setting up Babe Ruth Ball Baseball as their age requirements are better. Really a shame that a few people could destroy something that is as good as mom's apple pie and Chevy.

Coach Milburn

December 10, 2011 - 5:16pm

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?

CoachSid

December 5, 2011 - 2:20pm

I think this will only hinder American Legion Baseball nationwide. The rules were changed a number of years ago to allow older players to play thus enhancing the quality of play. Now because of some regional factionalism we are going to not allow College students to return to their team. On one hand we want to be a "High School" program (age), but on the other we want to play major league rules (nine innings for example). To being American Legion Basseball back to being the Pinnacle of Amateur Baseball we have to make it better, not weaken it. Regardless if it's a rural area or an urban area, eeveryone has different challenges. Please rethink this.

dadofhalfdozen

November 17, 2011 - 11:01pm

My oldest son played legion ball for the first time this past season. It was great to have a player that had played a year of college on the team. He not only helped with pitching ne also was a mentor for the kids that wanted to play at the next level. I hope my oldest boy will be able to do the same for his siblings and others

bigaldehn

November 12, 2011 - 9:53pm

I have been a scorer for our senior team in Scotia NY now for 7 years. Yes it will give more high school age kids a chance to be seen by college coaches. The one coach said it was not nessary due to the fact that they could see player on there high school teams. I disagree in that when we go to big tournaments we get to see players from other states you would not see. Also the weather in upstate NY can be allfull at times and can have a great effect on the play.In the summer you have much better weather and you get to see the players true talent. Also he said they live in a extreme rural area. Could there also be too many leagues competing for players. What he could do is start a junior progrman and build the team with a core of players to than comprise a senior team. Last but not least why don't American Legion start a college division for Freshman and sophmores to keep them in the fold. Alan L. Dehn Schenectady County Indians 2008 New York State Champions.

robinrjn

November 10, 2011 - 11:39pm

it's about time. can't it be implimented sooner...? And move the birthdate back to where it was ...as well

armypappy24

January 17, 2012 - 10:40pm

Jan 1 has been a pain in the neck for our area. That date Jan 1 removes quite a few players in our area.EX:A 17 yr old who has graduated from HS prior to Jan 1 birthdate is excluded from playing. The amazing thing was he turned 17 after he graduated.

coachcreed

November 4, 2011 - 5:26pm

I don't agree with the rule change. As a legion coach, I am constantly competing with so called " showcase teams" for players. The biggest complaint I hear for Legion baseball is the lack of quality pitching. If you enforce this rule, you will strengthen the traveling team world, because every parent want's their kid to play up. If you take out the college pitcher, where will he play? College coaches and scouts can see how a player can hit against a high school pitcher in High school. What he want's to see is how a High school kid can hit against a college pitcher, and he can do that watching Legion baseball. The level of competition will drop if you keep this rule and you will see less legion teams and more " showcase teams ". PLEASE RECONSIDER ! Brad Davis Head Coach Post 88 Sr. legion Mattoon,IL.

pdigaudio

November 27, 2011 - 3:33pm

I agree with you, although many college coaches would prefer their players to play on teams comprised of college players and adults. Also, it will eliminate smaller teams because of a lack of available players. Many of the high school players in smaller communities here are under incredible pressure from football and basketball coaches to focus on either football or basketball all summer with camps and leagues and it has forced a number of longstanding programs to drop to 17U or 16U at best or fold completely. National should take a state by state survey to see what the managers/coaches think. Peter DiGaudio, Manager Kenosha Post 21 Merchants

Posr 32

October 29, 2011 - 8:33am

"As foreseen by the NEC, the restriction will allow more high school athletes the opportunity to play Legion ball, because it will free up the limited number of places on team rosters." While that may be true in populous areas, the inverse is true in rural, sparsely populated areas. While this rule might give one or two players the chance to play on some teams, I see it stopping an entire team from having a season. There won't be enough players to field a team. In my area, it's always a struggle to put a team together even with freshman coming back from college.

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