Little League Baseball has stripped Chicago-area Jackie Robinson West of all wins from the 2014 Little League World Series.
After an internal investigation, Little League discovered that, “the Jackie Robinson team used a falsified boundary map, and that team officials met with neighboring Little League districts in Illinois to claim players and build what amounts to a superteam,” reports ESPN.
In addition to losing both its U.S. and Great Lakes Regional titles, the team’s manager and the Illinois district administrator have been indefinitely suspended.
JRW gained headlines this summer for becoming the first all-black team to win the U.S. title, and though they lost to South Korea in the international finals, President Obama publicly honored the team during a November trip to the White House.
Hailing mainly from the South Side of Chicago, Jackie Robinson West captured the world’s attention this summer on their extraordinary run through the Little League World Series. Along with being the first Chicago-area team to make it to the Little League World Series in 31 years, Jackie Robinson West also made history as the first all-black team to win the U.S. title.
Before the world championship game against South Korea, the President tweeted that “we’re all so proud” of the team. Even though South Korea won the final game 8-4, Jackie Robinson West had already secured a special place in the hearts of Americans across the country.
The young players’ victorious run held even more meaning, however, for the city that they came from. Chicago has grabbed headlines nationwide for its increased gun violence and high murder rate, and many of the Jackie Robinson West players come from neighborhoods suffering from this violence as well as disproportionate levels of poverty. But the team’s run this summer helped provide a respite from some of the city’s troubles, with the players’ hard work and upstanding example ultimately bringing hope, inspiration, and unity to their community.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Little League also awarded JRW’s U.S. title to Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas, the 2014 runner-up.