The national game of the USA BASEBALL
Since 1978, USA Baseball has been the national governing body for amateur baseball. It represents the sport in the United States as a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and internationally as a member federation of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). Nearly every major national amateur baseball organization in America is united as a USA Baseball national member organization. As a result, USA Baseball governs more than 15.6 million amateur players in ballparks and playgrounds across the country. As the commissioner’s office for amateur baseball, USA Baseball is a resource center for its various membership groups, fans and players. USA Baseball is also responsible for promoting and developing the game of baseball on the grassroots level, both nationally and internationally.
USA Baseball is passionate about raising awareness of the SafeSport initiative and providing our athletes unparalleled development and competitive opportunity in a safe environment.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on preventing physical, emotional and sexual abuse in sport. The Center, initially chartered by the U.S. Olympic Committee, is an independent organization with a nine-member board of directors, including subject-matter experts in abuse prevention, child abuse and sexual assault investigation, ethics compliance and sport administration.
Additionally, USA Baseball launched Pure Baseball in 2018. The policies and procedures created by USA Baseball as part of this program model those set forth by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and also contain supplementary guidelines to further safeguard minor athletes and their interactions with adults, and account for baseball-specific situations that may occur. as its zero-tolerance campaign for any type of abuse within the sport of baseball.
Since 1999, USA Baseball has been selecting teams of professional-level Minor and Major League players to represent the United States in various international competitions, including the World Baseball Classic.
Among the first teams of professional players that USA Baseball fielded was the 2000 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team, managed by Tommy Lasorda at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Led by Ben Sheets, the team of Minor League players defeated Cuba for the gold medal. In 2008, a Davey Johnson-led U.S. team featuring Dexter Fowler, Matt LaPorta and Stephen Strasburg took home the bronze medal from the Beijing Games, which currently stands as the last Olympic Games featuring a baseball competition.
For the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic, USA Baseball selected its first team comprised of Major League baseball players. The team featured such stars as Chase Utley, Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones. In the second installment of the WBC in 2009, with players like Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins and Jeter donning the red, white and blue, the U.S. team finished fourth, losing to Japan in the semifinals.
Most recently, the 2017 World Baseball Classic Team was managed by Jim Leyland and led by the likes of Brandon Crawford, Marcus Stroman and Christian Yelich. Team USA won its first-ever gold medal in the WBC in 2017, defeating Puerto Rico 8-0 in the final.
COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team is comprised of the top collegiate baseball players in the country. The team competes each summer in friendship series domestically and internationally against the world’s top baseball talent. As part of this schedule, the U.S. and squares off in international friendship series against Chinese Taipei, Cuba and Japan.
The Collegiate National Team program has witnessed great success in recent years. In 2016, the red, white and blue secured its first-ever series victory in Cuba against the host nation. Additionally, Team USA swept all three of its international friendship series against Chinese Taipei, Cuba and Japan in both 2017 and 2018.
In 2019, the Collegiate National Team earned its fifth consecutive series win over Cuba when it claimed the 8th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series, 4-1. The stars and stripes also brought home a 2-1 series win against Chinese Taipei in the 19th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series in 2019.
The 2020 Collegiate National Team’s schedule will once again be highlighted by an international friendship series against Cuba when Team USA travels to Cuba for the 9th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship series, as well as a Red vs. Blue intrasquad series.
Players who have taken the field for the Collegiate National Team and have gone on to play in Major League Baseball include such notables as Jim Abbott, Kris Bryant, Walker Buehler, Matt Chapman, Troy Glaus, Todd Helton, Ryan Howard, Barry Larkin, Tino Martinez, Dustin Pedroia, David Price, Huston Street, Dansby Swanson, Mark Teixeira, Troy Tulowitzki, Trea Turner, Jason Varitek and Ryan Zimmerman.
18U NATIONAL TEAM
Comprised of the nation’s top players ages 16 to 18, the USA Baseball 18U National Team is a perennial power on the international baseball scene. The team competes in two major events in bi-yearly cycles — the WBSC U-18 Americas Qualifier and the WSBC U-18 Baseball World Cup.
The 18U National Team enjoyed its longest streak of success from 2011-2018, winning gold at each year’s signature championship event, including World Cup wins in 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017. The 18U National Team has now won 13 international championship gold medals dating back to 1988.
In 2019, Major League Baseball and USA Baseball launched the MLB Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League, identifying 80 of the top draft prospects each year. USA Baseball has adopted the PDP League as its sole identification program for the 18U National Team.
The 18U National Team will serve as the host team in the 2021 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota Florida. This marks the first time that the top 18U event will be played on United States soil since the 1995 Junior World Championships.
Current Major Leaguers Freddie Freeman, Bryce Harper, Eric Hosmer, Clayton Kershaw, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Moustakas, Buster Posey, and Justin Upton have all worn the USA jersey as 18U players.
17U NATIONAL TEAM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
In 2018, USA Baseball launched the 16U National Team Development Program (NTDP) to accompany the 17U NTDP that was created in 2012. The NTDP serves as an educational and training program for the top talent in the age group from across the country. Players take part in skill-development sessions, listen to various guest speakers, and compete in intrasquad games. The goal of the NTDP is to better develop these players and prepare them for future national team opportunities.
Outstanding coaches are also a hallmark of the NTDP, as legends in the sport, like three-time ACC Baseball Coach of the Year Jack Leggett, have participated and brought their knowledge of the game to USA Baseball through this event. USA Baseball has also used the NTDP to identify up-and-coming coaches, with several former NTDP coaches going on the assist or manage future national teams.
15U NATIONAL TEAM
The USA Baseball 15U National Team is comprised of the top baseball players in the country ages 13 through 15 as identified by the USA Baseball task force. The team convenes each summer to play an international championship, alternating between the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup in even numbered years, and an Americas Qualifier in odd-numbered years.
The 15U National Team was created in 2012 and the inaugural team, which included future pros Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, and Kyle Tucker, played four games in the Dominican Republic against the Dominican and Puerto Rican national teams. Team USA went 4-0 abroad, outscoring their opponents, 31-3.
The first 15U international tournament came in 2013 and with it came Team USA’s first 15U gold medal. The team traveled to Baranquilla, Colombia, for the COPABE ‘AA’/15U Pan Am Championships, now known as the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, and defeated Cuba 6-1 in the championship game, finishing the event with a perfect 8-0 record.
After taking home the silver medal in 2014 and the bronze in 2016, the 15U National Team became World Cup champions for the first time in their history in 2018. The 2018 squad traveled to David, Panama and won eight of their nine games by a combined score of 88-13. The tournament culminated in a 7-1 victory over host team Panama in the gold medal game.
In all, the 15U National Team has won five gold medals, one silver, and one bronze in their seven years of international tournament play, and have a combined record of 59-7 against international opponents.
Players are selected for the 15U National Team through a two-phase trial. Phase 1 features 80 players invited from USA Baseball identification events. These events include the 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP), 13U/14U National Team Identification Series (NTIS), and the National Team Championships. Thirty-four of those athletes are then invited to Phase 2 before 20 players are named to the final roster.
In 2020, the 15U National Team will train in Southern California from August 8-11 before attempting to defend their title at the 2020 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup in Mexico.
13/14U ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The 13U Athlete Development Program (ADP) launched in 2019 before adding the 14U age group to the program in 2020. Members of the 13/14U ADP will be identified through the National Team Identification Series as well as the National Team Championships in Arizona, Florida and North Carolina. The players will take part in skill-development sessions, listen to various guest speakers and compete in intrasquad games. The 13/14U ADP serves as a tool for USA Baseball to prepare its players for future competition at the national-team level.
Participating athletes will be provided with an individual player assessment report by the coaching staff following the four-day event and be evaluated for the opportunity to be invited to the 15U National Team Trials.
USA Baseball welcomes staff from the high school, college and professional levels to work these development programs. Davidson College head coach Rucker Taylor and Florida Atlantic University head coach John McCormack served as intrasquad managers for the 2019 13/14U ADP and were joined on the coaching staff by USA Baseball alumni and former Major League Baseball players Doug Creek and Roger Kieschnick as well as former USA Baseball coaches Butch Chaffin and Tanner Vesely.
12U NATIONAL TEAM
USA Baseball launched its 12U National Team program in 2013. That year, the team traveled to Taipei City, Taiwan, and came home with its first International Baseball Federation (IBAF) World Cup gold medal. After lengthy pool play, the 12U National Team defeated the host, Chinese Taipei, in the World Cup final, 8-1. The game was attended by over 10,000 home fans and was broadcast throughout parts of Asia and online.
The 12U National Team followed its inaugural campaign with three more gold medals, including successfully defending its world championship title in both the 2015 and 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup. Team USA also claimed its first WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier gold medal in 2018.
In 2020, the 12U National Team will be comprised of some of the best young talent in the country selected from the 2019 National Team Identification Series (NTIS), the 2020 USA Baseball Futures Series and the 2020 USA Baseball 11U Futures Invitational as it looks to defend its 2018 Americas Qualifier title.
WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM
The USA Baseball Women’s National Team was established in 2004, when an 18-player team was chosen following open tryouts across the nation. The team went on to capture the gold medal in the first-ever International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Women’s World Cup in Edmonton, Canada. Team USA repeated as world champions in 2006 in Taiwan, before taking home the bronze medal at the 2008 and 2010 IBAF Women’s World Cup.
In 2012 and 2014, the Women’s National Team won the silver medal at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s Baseball World Cup in Edmonton, Canada, and Miyazaki, Japan, respectively. The 2015 Women’s National Team competed in the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games and claimed gold, defeating Canada 11-3 to the championship.
Most recently, the Women’s National Team claimed its first gold medal since 2015 at the 2019 COPABE Women’s Pan-American Championships. The team went undefeated en route to the championship, outscoring opponents 124-20 while holding a cumulative .500 batting average and hitting 11 home runs. The dominating performance earned the Women’s National Team the 2019 USA Baseball Team of the Year Award.
Following her managerial debut with the 2019 Women’s National Team, Veronica Alvarez became the first female to be named the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year, while two-time Team USA alum Alex Hugo was named the Sportswoman of the Year after earning MVP honors at the Pan-American Championships and leading Team USA in six offensive categories.
When not competing in the World Cup, the Women’s National Team hosts a Women’s National Team Development Program. It also helps to lead youth clinics and works to grow the game of baseball among women in the U.S in part through Major League Baseball and USA Baseball’s joint girl’s baseball development opportunities, created to foster the next generation of female baseball players in the United States, including the Girls Breakthrough Series and Development Camp, the MLB GRIT Invitational and the Trailblazer Series.
USA Baseball will kick off its 2020 on-field programming with the third Women’s National Open, to be held July 3-5 at The First Academy in Orlando, Fla. Players will participate in a series of skill sessions and games in an effort to be selected as one of the 40 athletes chosen to attend the Women’s National Team Trials, to be held July 6-9. The final 20-player Women’s National Team will be selected from Trials to compete at the 2020 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup in Monterrey, Mexico, September 11-20.