Despite being disgraced by a cheating scandal that stripped the league of its U.S. title, Jackie Robinson West’s leader Bill Haley is set to show the youth baseball program that his father started in 1971 is alive and thriving after its breakup from Little League International this weekend with a two-day season-opening celebration on the South Side.
Haley hasn’t said much publicly since Little League International stripped the U.S. championship team of its title in February, a move that confirmed allegations first reported by DNAinfo.com Chicago that league officials, including Haley, secretly changed its boundary map and put players who lived outside league boundaries on the tournament team against residency rules.
Little League International's punishment included putting the JRW league on probation until Haley and his mother, Anne Haley, were removed from the league’s board of directors.
Rather than comply with Little League International’s punishment, Bill Haley decided to sever ties with the Pennsylvania-based youth baseball organization and join the Babe Ruth/ Cal Ripken organization.
That move allowed Haley to remain in charge of JRW and in control of more than $200,000 in donations the league received last year, including a hefty contribution from Dick’s Sporting Goods, which gave a portion of JRW t-shirt sales to the league.
On Saturday, Dick’s Sporting Goods is listed as the lead sponsor of Jackie Robinson West’s all-day coaching, hitting and fielding clinic for players and coaches at the ball fields, 10540 S. Morgan Street.
On Sunday, Opening Day ballgames, JRW's first played under the Babe Ruth/ Cal Ripken banner, are set to begin with special appearances by the Jesse White Tumblers and the White Sox mascot, South Paw.
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