Aitkin celebrated its Junior American Legion Post 86 team winning the Minnesota State Junior Tournament Championship in three straight games last August. This is the history of American Legion Baseball.
Its origin on June 17, 1925, was in an address by former Army Maj. John L. Griffith, commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, during the American Legion Department of South Dakota’s summer convention in Milbank. “There is nothing in our national life which stresses certain qualities that are expressed in our athletics. Intelligent courage, fighting instinct and cooperation are some things which I believe are visibly expressed in our athletic games…American Legion posts, as a matter of citizenship training, could easily carry on such athletic activities throughout the United States.”
The idea quickly advanced to the national stage when the Americanism Commission proposed organizing a Junior All-American Baseball League. As reported at the Legion’s Seventh National Convention in Omaha, Neb., its purpose would be to promote “citizenship through sportsmanship.”
Almost a century later, American Legion Baseball is one of our…