CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed today “Jackie Robinson West Championship Day” in honor of the baseball team from Chicago’s South Side that won the U.S. Championship and was runner up in the Little League World Series. Jackie Robinson West defeated Nevada to become the U.S. Champions and advanced to play South Korea in the World Series, for the culmination of an amazing season.
“The players, coaches and parents of Jackie Robinson West have accomplished something we can all be proud of,” Governor Quinn said. “These young players have displayed a level of teamwork, sportsmanship and dedication well beyond their years, and are an inspiration to kids across Chicago, Illinois and our nation. Hailing from the South Side of Chicago, the Jackie Robinson West little leaguers are some of the most successful baseball players in Illinois' history. The entire state of Illinois is proud of Jackie Robinson West - this was a special season we won't soon forget.”
In his Proclamation, the Governor said, “…number 42 – Jackie Robinson – would have been proud of this year’s team, which showed the same grit and grace Jackie showed as a player.”
Fans all over Illinois gathered to watch Jackie Robinson West’s journey to the World Series. The South Side team defeated Nevada 7-5 on Saturday, August 23 to win the U.S. finals and advance to the World Series, where they lost to South Korea 8-4.
Jackie Robinson West is the first all African-American team to win the U.S. Championship in over three decades. In 1983, Jackie Robinson West won the Regional Championship, a feat accomplished by only two Chicago-area teams since (Lemont in 2006 and South Holland in 1992), and finished fifth in the World Series.
The Jackie Robinson West Little League team was founded in 1971 - the year before Jackie Robinson died - by educator Joseph H. Haley, whose goal was to provide young people with wholesome, healthy recreation through baseball. The team’s mission is to bring children into a structured program environment supported by adult volunteers where values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline are emphasized.
Jackie Robinson West Championship Day Proclamation (PDF)