The Little League® Pledge was written by Peter J. McGovern, the late president of Little League Baseball, in 1954. It made its first appearance in the February 1955 Little Leaguer® magazine. Its text has remained unchanged in the half-century since then
The Little League Pledge was drafted after Mr. McGovern became aware that local Little League programs were reciting the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance before games. Mr. McGovern wanted to give all leagues (not just those in the United States) a pledge reflecting some of the sentiments of the Pledge of Allegiance, minus the references to the U.S., while adding the elements of sportsmanship and the desire to excel.
The text of the Little League Pledge was sent to U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Feb. 22, 1955. President Eisenhower (and every president since then) was a strong supporter of Little League. In a response by letter to Mr. McGovern a few days later, President Eisenhower said: “Thank you for…sending me the inspiring and fine pledge that, I understand, will now be repeated at the start of the Little League Baseball games. I am always glad to hear the plans and activities of Little League.”
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best
Today, local Little League programs sometimes choose to recite the Little League Pledge at the start of the season, and some recite it before every game. It is printed on the backs of the Little League rule books. Some local leagues also choose to play or sing the National Anthem of the country in which the game is played. Others may add a prayer to ceremonies.Whether to recite the Little League Pledge, play or sing the National Anthem, or say a prayer, is entirely up to the local league’s Board of Directors. While many local leagues and districts include a recitation of the Little League Pledge in ceremonies, it is not, and has never been, required to be recited by any person involved with Little League Baseball or Softball.
PORT ARTHUR NATIONAL LITTLE LEAGUE:
In 1952 several local individuals with the financial support of four city service clubs applied for and were granted a Little League Baseball charter in 1952. The Board of Directors consisted of the following positions and directors:
- President: Gord Wilson
- Vice President: George Arnot
- Secretary : Walter Tilson...also League Contact
- Treasurer: Harry Hurtig
The Port Arthur national Little League was the first little league in the twin cities of Port Arthur and Fort William. Our league boundaries consisted of the entire city of Port Arthur, which at the time had an estimated population of 31,000 residents (according to our charter submission of the time).
In those early days we had a four team league of 9 to 12 year olds and they played a twenty (20) game schedule. The teams were all proudly supported by four city of Port Arthur Service Clubs. The newly minted Executive selected Red, White, and Black as our league colours.
We believe our first field was located on the corners of what is now the corner of High St and Beverley St. behind the Port Arthur Stadium. Our field dimensions were 195 feet down the 1st and 3rd base sides and 250 feet at straight away centre field. With the financial support of our city’s service clubs, the league purchased 72 uniforms that year.
Our charter application cost the league $10.00 and it was filed with Little League-Baseball Incorporated at 34B William St., Williamsport, Pennsylvania, USA, on April 24th, 1952.
In 1953, the Fort William Americans located in Fort William’s east end applied for and received their charter and since that time the two leagues have often competed for the district 3 championships. Followed by the Westfort Internationals in 1958.
Port Arthur National Little League and Westfort Internationals Little League are the 2 remaining chartered Little League organizations in Thunder Bay.
The Executive of the Port Arthur National Little League invites anyone with any Port Arthur National Little League information of historical significance to share their stories, recollections, pictures, articles, tournaments won/lost, and memories of championship teams with us and we will make every effort to get your pictures, stories on our web site.