HISTORYUpdated Thursday February 23, 2017 by Carlos Torres.
The South Lexington Youth Baseball organization dates to 1956 when it was founded under the name of the Southern League. In the early 1970s, the Southern League, by that date called Southern Little League, merged with the Stonewall Independent League under the banner of South Lexington Little League with a 10-team Major League division—the same as today– and several Minor League teams. Over the years the Minor League has expanded to the current 14 teams and in the 1990s the Rookie League (now 7 and 8-years with 15 teams) and Tee Ball (now 4 to 6-year-olds and 22 teams) comprise the league’s make-up.
During this 1970s period, South Lexington won several Little League State championships and in 1978 South Lexington’s 12-year-old All-Star team won the South Regional to become one of only four United Statesteams to qualify for the eight-team Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. South Lexington won two of three games in the World Series to finish third.
In the mid-1980s, the league became affiliated with Babe Ruth Baseball, playing in the Bambino Division, now called Cal Ripken. Success on the national and international stage in several age divisions has continued for South Lexington teams in the Ripken Division. Sixteen different South Lexington’s 12-year-old All-Star teams have gone to Ripken (or its Bambino predecessor) World Series. The teams in 1992, 2001 and most recently 2007 won World Series championships and the 1994 and 2011 teams finished as the runner-up in the Series. And, the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014 teams finished in the Ripken World Series’ Final Four. Also, South Lexington’s 12-year-old teams in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1997, 1999, and 2000 also participated in Ripken (or Bambino) World Series.
In the 10-year-old Cal Ripken World Series, three South Lexington All-Star teams have participated. Most recently, the 2013 South Lexington 10-year-olds finished as runner-up in the World Series just as the 10-year-old age group did in 2004. South Lexington’s 10-year-old All-Star team also appeared in the 2009 World Series.
After that Southern and Stonewall Leagues merger in the early 1970s, SLYB began, just as is the current format, playing with 10 teams in the Major League, which was divided into a five-team American and five-team National division. For nearly 30 years, the league champion was decided in a best of three playoff between the two division winners.
An alteration to this was made beginning with the 2002 season when a tournament was initiated. For the regular season, the same two-division format was maintained and the team with best record in each earns its division championship.
The post season tournament is a separate entity and consists of six teams who earn tourney berths off regular season performance. The division winners receive the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the tournament and a first-round bye. The next four teams with the best records qualify for the other tourney spots.
Following is some historical information on the regular season and league post-season play. Over the years, team names have changed and the division make-up has been altered and for a few years a blind draw determined each team’s division placement. Immediately following are the regular season and playoff/tournament results as we can officially document:
Year American Div National Div
1956-1973 not available
1974 Rebels Yankees
1975 Rebels Braves
1976 White Sox Cardinals
1977 White Sox Cardinals
1978 White Sox Wildcats
1979 Rebels Braves
1980 White Sox Wildcats
1981 Cardinals Braves
1982 Braves Wildcats
1983 Wildcats White Sox
1984-2000 not available
2001 Cubs Cardinals
2002 Reds Cardinals
2003 Cubs Royals
2004 White Sox Royals
2005 Cubs Braves
2006 Orioles Cardinals
2007 Orioles Royals
2008 Cubs Pirates
2009 Reds Braves
2010 Reds Royals
2011 Reds Pirates
2012 White Sox Royals
2013 White Sox Cardinals
2014 White Sox Royals
Playoff results between the two division winners:
1974-Yankees defeated Rebels 2 games to 1.
1975-Rebels defeated Braves 2 games to 0.
1976-White Sox defeated Cardinals 2 games to 0.
1977-Cardinals defeated White Sox 2 games to 1.
1978-White Sox defeated Wildcats 2 games to 0.
1979-Rebels defeated Braves 2 games to 0.
1980-Wildcats defeated White Sox 2 games to 0.
1981-Braves defeated Cardinals 2 games to 1.
1982-Wildcats defeated Braves 2 games to 0.
1983-Wildcats defeated White Sox 2 games to 1.
2001-Cardinals defeated Cubs 2 games to 0.
(A 6-team tournament replaced the playoff format in 2002)
Year Winner Runner-Up Score
2002 Cardinals Royals 5-4
2003 Rebels White Sox 12-7
2004 Royals White Sox 6-1
2005 Braves Cubs 4-1
2006 Orioles Cardinals 3-2
2007 Orioles Royals 7-1
2008 Cubs Astros 15-12 (10 innings)
2009 Astros A’s 10-0
2010 Royals Pirates 14-12 (8 innings)
2011 Cardinals Pirates 11-0
2012 White Sox Royals 4-2
2013 Cardinals White Sox 15-4
2014 White Sox Reds 9-6
2015 White Sox Orioles 14-1
2016 Cubs Astros 5-3
Cal Ripken, Jr., former major league star with the Baltimore Orioles, became affiliated with Babe Ruth Baseball, Inc. in 1999 and Babe Ruth’s 4 to 12 -year-old age division changed its name from Bambino to Ripken that year. In 2007, Ripken baseball began offering two different distances for which its league members could complete, those being at 46/60 foot division and 50/70 foot division. A 12-year-old World Series is held annually for each division.