When you think about Little League World Series champs, you probably think about Taiwan and California. And for good reason–the Taiwanese were a dynasty in the ’70s and ’80s, winning 17 titles. (California has won 7).
But Connecticut has more than held its own in the Little League World Series. Teams from the Nutmeg State have won four championships—that’s fourth-best all-time and second-best among U.S. states.
Everyone remembers the youngsters from Trumbull, who led by future N.H.L. star Chris Drury, broke a six-year drought for the U.S. and upset a heavily-favored and high-powered Taiwanese team to capture the world title in 1989.
But Connecticut was arguably the most successful state in the union in the early days of the tournament, advancing to three straight title games in the early ’50s and winning two national titles.
The Little League World Series began in 1947, and although international teams didn’t compete regularly until the 1960’s, teams throughout the U.S. made the pilgrimage to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to decide which Little League was the biggest and baddest of them all.
Connecticut teams were regulars in the championship round early, as a Bridgeport team reached the national final in 1950, losing to Houston, Texas, 2-1.
But teams from Stamford and Norwalk would win the whole thing in back to back years in 1951 and ’52, with Stamford besting Austin, Texas 3-0 in ’51 and Norwalk outlasting Monongahela, Pa., 4-3 in ’52.
Bridgeport and Darien each reached the semifinals in 1958, and Stratford reached the national final in ’63, falling to Granada Hills, Canada, 2-1.
A team from Windsor Locks gave Connecticut its third title in 1965, downing Stoney Creek, Ontario 3-1 in the final.
The Trumbull team broke a 24-year championship game drought for Connecticut, and captured the nation’s imagination when they stunned the Taiwanese in the 1989 final. It took another 19 years for a CT team to get back to Williamsport, as the Shelton Little League reached the Group Stage in 2008.
Per capita, Connecticut is certainly one of the most successful states in the U.S. Take a look at this chart:
|1||Taiwan ______||17||1969, 1971–74, 1977-81, 1986–88, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996|
|2||Japan _______||8||1967, 1968, 1976, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2010, 2012|
|3||California ______||7||1961, 1962, 1963, 1992, 1993, 2009, 2011|
|4||Pennsylvania______||4||1947, 1948, 1955, 1960|
|Connecticut ________||4||1951, 1952, 1965, 1989|
|New Jersey ______||4||1949, 1970, 1975, 1998|
|7||Mexico __________||3||1957, 1958, 1997|
|Georgia ________||3||1983, 2006, 2007|
Here’s a look at Connecticut’s history in the Little League World Series:
[colored_box color=”eg. blue, green, grey, red, yellow”]
Year City Result
1950 Bridgeport National Runner-Up*
1951 Stamford Champions*
1952 Norwalk Champions*
1957 Bridgeport Third Place
1958 Darien Fourth Place
1963 Stratford U.S. Champions, Int’l Runner Up*
1965 Windsor Locks World Champions
1974 New Haven Sixth Place
1976 Bristol Fifth Place
1981 Stamford Sixth Place
1984 Bristol Eighth Place
1989 Trumbull World Champions
2008 Shelton Group Stage
2010 Fairfield Group Stage
2012 Fairfield Round 3
2013 Westport ?
*An international championship game was first held in 1963.