Win or Lose, Jackie Robinson West's Legacy is Secure

Team's success has become bigger than just baseball

Jackie Robinson West's successful Little League World Series run has become much bigger than baseball.

The team has become an inspiration for other black kids to try baseball, a sport that's become less popular in the black community.

Dennis Butler, the father of the team's manager Darrold Butler, says the inquiries have already started.

"I've already had three or four phone calls," Dennis Butler said. "It is going to inspire the community in regards to the parents wanting to get their children to get involved."

[[271775671, C]]

The players are having an affect on the city much bigger than baseball. The all-black team reside in neighborhoods like Auburn Gresham, Englewood and Chatham, communities that are at times, known for violence -- not youth baseball.

"It is better than being out there on the streets, so I support it," JRW fan Marquis Wimberly said.

Former player George Taylor says being on the team six years ago changed his life.

"I didn't have a dad. The coach took me under his wings. That was the first sport I played. My mom put me in it when I was 5," Taylor said.

8/18/2014: NBC 5’s Dick Johnson captures the crowd reaction as the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars win their second game in the Little League World Series.

Chicago White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams understands the significance of the experience the players are getting.

"It is beyond baseball, it is life skills that they are learning," Williams said. You learn sportsmanship, how to deal with failure.

As the number of African Americans playing the sport declines, the hope is that this team inspires more kids to pick up a baseball, bat and glove.

"It is exciting for me to see them and know that they are seeing they have possibilities," Williams said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us