MORGAN PARK — The Jackie Robinson West sluggers from Chicago’s struggling South Side became national celebrities this summer when they hit and pitched their way to the Little League World Series and took home the U.S title.
But now the adults who put together the team — parents, coaches and league administrators — face allegations they violated Little League residency rules by stacking the lineup with All-Star ringers from the suburbs to create a “super team” that became champs.
In an email to Little League International obtained by DNAinfo.com Chicago, a neighboring south suburban league called on Little League officials to investigate whether Jackie Robinson West engaged in “manipulating, bending and blatantly breaking the rules for the sole purpose of winning at all costs.”
“We have very good reason to believe that [there] were several members of this team that did not live within JRW’s boundaries and, per Little League residency requirements, should not have been allowed on this team,” Evergreen Park Athletic Association vice president Chris Janes wrote.
Evergreen Park league officials say they decided to speak out despite the risk of being criticized in hopes of protecting the integrity of Little League baseball — a once small-town organization that’s now worth more than $80 million — and keep their league, as well as others, alive.