Youth league baseball season is in full swing! Chicago’s North Center, Lincoln Square, and Ravenswood residents don’t have to go far to enjoy their fill of America’s favorite summer pastime – baseball. These north side neighborhoods enjoy good youth baseball programs that draw participants from all over the city of Chicago to build a sense of community and camaraderie of the families involved.
The Welles Park Parent Association (WPPA) emphasizes baseball fundamentals, good sportsmanship, and the knowledge of the game. Children begin as Rookies at ages 5-6, become Juniors at ages 7-8, Minors are for ages 9-10, Majors for ages 11-12, and Seniors are 13-14 years. The Liberty Division involves players ages 15-18 years old. The WPPA program is well known for its solid baseball program and has established a good reputation. Most games are played at the five baseball diamonds at Welles Park located between Montrose Avenue and Sunnyside just west of Lincoln Avenue. Other parks utilized for WPPA games are Winnemac Park (Damen and Winnemac) and Legion (Bryn Mawr and Virginia).
Hamlin Park (on Damen Avenue between Barry and Wellington) enjoys a strong and reputable youth baseball program operated by Hamlin Park Baseball Association (HPBA). They recently received a donation from Cubs Care to renovate three of their baseball diamonds to better weather rainfall and blowing dust.
Horner Park at California Avenue and Irving Park Road has another good youth baseball program that serves many children of Chicago’s north side neighborhoods including a Challenger Division that is designed for mentally and/or physically challenged youth ages 5-18. Horner Park North-West Little League conducts house play.
All three youth baseball leagues are co-ed and stress baseball fundamentals while cultivating a love of the game. For North Center, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, and Roscoe Village families, there is a baseball diamond within walking distance or at least a short drive. The children who participate in youth baseball programs come together on their youth baseball team, building new bonds with their teammates and forming lasting ties to their communities.
If you want to know what life is like in the summertime in the city of Chicago, stop by your nearest ballpark and take a look around you. There is nothing like watching a child hit the baseball for his/her first hit or making his/her first catch in the outfield. Batter up!
Ann Marie Walker, ABR, Move with Maggie Team