Senior League Baseball is Little League’s division for players ages 13 through 16. Little League created the division in 1961 to give kids an opportunity to continue playing beyond the traditional structure of Little League, which began at age 9 and ended at age 12. Unlike Little League, Senior League featured a full-size infield, with 90 feet between the bases and 60 feet, 6 inches between the pitcher’s plate and home plate. The first Senior League Baseball World Series was held that year in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
In 1979, 13-year-olds were given their own division, Junior League. Junior League also featured a full-size infield. By this time, the Senior League division had grown to 2,850 leagues around the world while Little League boasted 6,500 leagues.
Bangor was the seventh city to host the Senior League Baseball World Series. Little League chose Bangor in fall 2001 after Kissimmee, Florida, determined it could no longer host the event. Kissimmee had been the series’ home from 1986 through 2001. When the series moved to Bangor in 2002, the field of teams expanded from eight to 10, with the addition of a berth for the host district (Maine District 3) and a berth for the Europe-Middle East-Africa region (now known as Europe-Africa). The first Bangor World Series game featured Chet Wagner Little League, of South Bend, Indiana, against South Vineland L.L., of Vineland, New Jersey, on Aug. 11, 2002
On Aug. 26, 2016, however, the Little League International board of directors voted to pull the Senior League Baseball World Series from Bangor and give it to Easley, South Carolina, after the board voted to dissolve the Big League Baseball division. The Big League Baseball World Series had been held in Easley from 2001 to 2016.
World Series format
From 2002 through 2014, the World Series featured 10 teams divided into two pools. Teams represented Maine District 3 (the host), U.S. East, U.S. Southeast, U.S. Central, U.S. Southwest, U.S. West, Asia-Pacific, Europe-Africa, Latin America, and Canada. Teams in each pool played a round-robin schedule. The top two teams in each pool advanced to the semifinals, with the first-place team for Pool A playing the second-place team in Pool B and the first-place team in Pool B playing the second-place team in Pool A. The winners advanced to the championship game.
In 2015, the format changed to a modified double-elimination tournament. The 10 teams were divided into two brackets of five teams each. The series features two brackets of five teams each, representing the champion of the host district, U.S. East, U.S. Southeast, U.S. Central, U.S. Southwest, U.S. West, Canada, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Europe-Africa. Each bracket plays a modified double-elimination tournament, in which the last two teams play in a winner-take-all semifinal to determine who will advance to the championship game. Since 2007, ESPN has broadcast the championship game live.
More than 50 of the more than 1,800 players who played in Bangor have gone on to play professionally. Of those, 11 have played in the major leagues. Among them: Kenley Jansen, Ruben Tejada, Kolten Wong, Xander Bogaerts, and Domonic Brown.
Since the series moved to Bangor in 2002, only Hilo L.L., Hilo, Hawaii, and West University L.L., West University Place, Texas, have won more than one championship, with West University winning three, in 2009, 2014, and 2015. Hilo has won two, in 2003 and in 2011. Ping Tung L.L., Chinese Taipei, leads all Senior leagues in World Series titles, with seven (1974, 1980, 1985, 1989-1992). Taipei L.L., Chinese Taipei, is second with the most titles, with three (1973, 1986, and 1988). West University is the only U.S. team with three titles, and the only U.S. team to win consecutive titles. A full list of Senior League Baseball World Series champions can be found here.