Here’s a timeline of key events concerning Jackie Robinson West’s incredible journey and improper recruiting practices, assembled from media reports:
August 11, 2014: Jackie Robinson West wins the Great Lakes Region championship in Indianapolis and advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
August 14, 2014: In its LLWS opener, JRW, the first all-African-American team ever to play in the tournament, trounces Washington 12–2.
August 17, 2014: JRW is beaten 13–2 by Nevada. However, because it is a double-elimination tournament, JRW will get another shot.
August 18, 2014: JRW narrowly avoids elimination in an 8–7 victory over Rhode Island.
August 19, 2014: JRW is one win away from the U.S. title game after outlasting Texas 6–1.
August 21, 2014: JRW beats Pennsylvania 6–5 to advance to the U.S. title game.
August 22, 2014: It was close, but after a 7–5 win over Nevada, Jackie Robinson West is on to the Little League World Series championship game.
August 24, 2014: South Korea thoroughly outplays JRW in the championship game, winning 8–4. Despite the loss, President Barack Obama calls to congratulate the team.
August 27, 2014: A victory parade and rally for Jackie Robinson West are held in downtown Chicago. Thousands turn out to watch. Limited edition U.S. championship t-shirts sell out in minutes. In the coming days, JRW players will be honored at Cubs and White Sox games.
September 2014: Concerns about players’ residency are raised by a league official from a neighboring district in Illinois, but after reviewing documentation, Little League clears JRW of wrongdoing.
November 6, 2014: Jackie Robinson West visits the White House and meets the President and First Lady.
December 16, 2014: Chris Janes, vice president of the suburban District 8 Little League in Evergreen Park, calls on Little League International to investigate whether Jackie Robinson West broke residency rules, DNAinfo.com reports. According to the Chicago Tribune, he had noticed during the LLWS that some communities outside of Jackie Robinson’s residential boundaries were declaring themselves the hometowns of Jackie Robinson players, and he had done some research into the matter. Little League International says Jackie Robinson West did not skirt residency rules, but JRW’s troubles are just beginning.
February 10, 2015: Little League International officials, citing new evidence, meet to decide whether Jackie Robinson West illegally expanded its recruiting boundaries before the 2014 season.
February 11, 2015: Little League International strips Jackie Robinson West of all of its 2014 wins, including its national title, awarding that to the U.S. runner-up, Mountain Ridge Little League in Las Vegas. JRW Manager Darold Butler is suspended from Little League activities, and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly is removed from his position.
Photo: Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated