Youth league baseball all-star selection guidelines

It can be one of the most difficult, controversial and emotional topics a youth league faces each year. How do we choose who makes the all-star teams and who coaches/manages them? There are always going to be many more kids and parents who believe themselves to be deserving than there are spots on the team. This leads to hurt feelings, accusations of cronyism, and animosity. Since Little League instituted an all-star level for 11 year-olds in 2003, to augment the traditional 9-10 and Majors levels,  even more debates have raged. Should the best 10 year-olds play in the 11 year-old division or stay in the 9-10? If a league has a lot of strong 11’s, should they stay together and compete in the 11 year-old tournament, or go up to Majors? Below is a guideline developed that addresses all of these topics. You may or may not agree with everything in this policy and may wish to adopt some parts, but not others. However, the result of having this document in place has been that nearly all arguments about the merits of players and coaches chosen for various teams have disappeared, due in part to a more transparent and objective selection process.

All-Star Selection Guidelines

The goal of ______________ Little League is to field the most competitive team in the Majors Division. Players for the Majors, 10-11 and 9-10 all-star teams will be selected in the following manner:

Majors: All players will vote for thirteen 11 and 12 year-old players in their respective leagues. Players will be allowed to vote for teammates and/or themselves if they wish. Instructions on the ballot, to be reinforced verbally by managers prior to voting, will be as follows:
Being selected to the ______________  All-Star Team is an honor and privilege. Select the 13 players on this list you believe to be most deserving of this honor based on their ability to help the team win. Ballots that the league feels are not taken seriously, (for instance: the majority of players you voted for are on one team, or most of the players you selected have not received votes from anyone else), may not be allowed.

All official league coaches and managers will also vote. The Player Agent will, with the President, tally the three sets of votes. Players will then be ranked from highest (most votes) to lowest. The committee recommends that this data be used by the President when making his decisions on manager slates. For instance, if a potential manager’s son or daughter is clearly in the top echelon after all voting is tabulated, it is very likely that the player will make the team when the final selection process occurs. However, if a potential manager’s child is “on the bubble” or not in the top 13, the President may wish to take into consideration the fact that this player may not warrant all-star status when formulating his slate.

The President will present his slate of managers and coaches to the board at the June BOD meeting. Once the slate is approved, the Majors Coordinator will schedule a meeting of the league’s managers to select the team. The five managers from each division, (and the manager of the all-star team if he is not one of the five managers), will select 13 players at that meeting, considering the votes of the players, coaches and themselves to be a guideline.

After the first vote, any players tied for the final spots on the roster will be voted upon again until a consensus has been reached and 13 players have been chosen. If two players are deadlocked for a 13th spot, the manager may, at his discretion, opt to carry a 14th player on the roster. If the final roster spot comes down to two players, one of whom is 12 and the other 11, the 12 year-old should be given the spot as it is assumed the 11 year-old will have the chance to play on the team next year.

It is possible that an 11 year-old player who is good enough to make the Majors team may wish to stay instead with the 11 year-old team. If this player is a “difference-maker” (was in the top 5-6 of the player/coach/manager voting), and is selected to the team by the managers, he must play with that team.

It is the recommendation of the committee that the team is comprised of 13-14 players, one manager and two coaches, and that the selection of the manager of the team is given equal importance to the selection of the players.

After the Majors team is finalized, the remaining eligible players from the Majors Division pool will be picked by the manager of the 10-11’s, along with the other league managers. It is the committee’s position that these will be primarily, if not exclusively, 11 year-old players.

The selection of the 9-10 all-star team will be conducted via tryout of between 18 and 22 players. Tryouts shall not be held prior to June 15, or two weeks prior to the start of the tournament, whichever is earliest. Every 10 year-old who played in Majors will automatically be invited to the tryout, which will be at least two days. Each team in Minors will submit up to 2 players, (3 if all agree), at a meeting arranged by the Minors Coordinator. After factoring in the number of Majors players invited to the tryout, the remaining invitees will be selected from Minors. If a tie between a 9 and 10 year-old player needs to be broken, it is recommended that consideration be given to the 10 year-old as the 9 will likely have the opportunity to play on the team next year. After the tryout, the Manager of the team will choose 13-14 players. It is recommended that a large portion of the tryout be comprised of a “live scrimmage game” between a team consisting of all Majors’ players against a team of the remaining players. A score book should be kept to assist the manager who is selecting the team in his decision-making process and to help make the process less subjective. Players who cannot attend either of the tryout dates will not be eligible to play. All-star hats will be ordered for all players attending the tryout, whether they make the team or not.

16 Responses

  1. The selection process for the Staten Island senior minor division is totally unfair the players are Pre picked before the try outs. The first 10 players are picked from the number one and number two teams. These 10 players did not come to the trials today . why have a trial at all?Which leaves 3 slots for the remainder of the teams. My son had a batting average of 750 in regular games .
    An average of 2 hits a game. He was the lead off hitter for his team which came in last place in the league. Dylan scored over 40 runs and was also an all star in the junior minors being on a team which struggled for this passed season did not upset him ,it made him fight harder for his friends and team mates. He lives for the game and when today at the trials he was cut was completely devastated , out of 20 pitches to him today he hit 15 of them he was playing second base through out the trials and was flawless .i have 3 sons in south shore little league and in my experience it is totally corrupt and favors friends and family. You may think of me as you read this as another pissed off parent ,yes I am angry to watch my son who loves and live for baseball be treated so unfairly. I have a company off 500 employees and volunteer my services to anything my sons teams need including sponsorship ,but I do not favor my sons in anything. I am a Ferm believer in that kids must learn to except the ups and downs in life and treat everyone with the respect you would like to receive yourself .The lesson they are getting in the little league is the wrong one , I was not born in America but i am proud to have grown a strong union company and a reputation for been fair to al . The morals and beliefs in this great country in my eyes have been neglected in the little league base ball forum. Baseball is an important part of influences that will effect how our kids grow up with an example of fun and fairness please don’t let kids who deserve a place through hard work to beter there skills and a love for the game be overlooked . Life is hard enough.

    • Thank you for your comment. As we have been saying for years, all-stars, including the selection process, brings out the most emotion and concern of anything in youth baseball. We have posted recommendations for conducting fair and transparent selections, but there are many leagues that choose to do it their own way. It could be that your only recourse is to join your local Little League’s Board of Directors and see if you can effect a change in the process for next season. Your son, while disappointed now, will be fine and, if he looks at this experience the right way, will become even stronger and more determined to succeed. Based on your accomplishments, it is a safe bet you’ll be able to show him how to turn this setback into motivation.

  2. Your open minded views on the situation my son is in is appreciated and no mater what he will be more aware of the fact that life is not always fare . I will continue to address this situation with the writes of not just my three sons but for all the kids that leave the field with an knot in there stomach knowing that they did not get a fair shot .
    My family have played in little league baseball for 5 years in that time I have seen so many cases of unethical conduct by the people who represent Little League Baseball in my area.
    My youngest son is 8 and next season will be eligible for minor play . That’s another 5 seasons of little league
    Altogether with both regular and fall baseball that Will be 28 seasons of league play for my kids . They love the game , and the great time spent either playing or watching each other play. This makes my first option of pulling them out of the little league program an impossible one .That is why I will use all the restores available to me to protect there right to get an honest shot at profiling there provincial.
    Thank you again for your thoughts

  3. […] complaints about inequity in the way leagues choose their all-star teams. We’ve put forth our suggest for a fair and transparent all-star selection process. What is your […]

  4. My son also has a 750 batting average, no errors this season, and overall is an outstanding player and was chosen to initially play on the all star team but a week before the game, we were told that two of the four players had to be released. The two best players were released and the coaches favorites were retained. We’ve told our son that life is not fair and that many times the coaches pick their favorites instead of the best players and that all star games are not always “all star” games but not to despair and to always play hard and do his best. Everyone, coaches, parents and players know in their heart of hearts what’s fair and who got passed over because of nepotism or favorites. It’s like that in little league baseball, club teams, middle school and high school. Its a fact of life. Your teacher will have favorites and so will bosses, even parents.

  5. […] but if your league hasn’t decided completely how you are going to pick your all-stars, here is our take on the best way to do so. Good luck this season in those fun and exciting all-star […]

  6. […] level-headed, but the entire conversation speaks to the fact that leagues should have clear-cut, publicized and impartial rules in place for choosing […]

  7. The All Star process is nothing more than a popularity contest, a who does what, and who you are. It’s NOT based on skill. I have seen several kids heart broken because they were not selected for “All Stars”! Unless your parent coaches or is on the board, you will not make all stars. It’s sad because the kids that have the heart, love, and determination… The kids who work on there skills all day every day… They do it for themselves and for the goal of making all stars… For the love of the game… To keep playing! Those kids don’t get that shot.
    And how do you explain that let down… Are kids going to understand, it’s “politics”… Probably not because even parents can’t understand that!
    “All Stars” need to be done away with, called something else, or the coaches, presidents, league officials need to step in and think about the CHILDRENS FEELINGS rather than their friendships amongst other coaches, parents, kids friends.

    • Yes, often these all-star selections do become political. The managers and board members’ kids frequently do get preferential treatment. If you read this article you’ll see that at least a partial solution is proposed. By allowing the players in the league to have a vote there is a better chance that the most deserving kids will be be recognized. If 40 players receive votes and a manager’s son or daughter is ranked #32, it will be very difficult for the coaches to choose that player over others ranked in the top 12. There is no perfect solution but this is much better than simply letting the coaches choose the team in a back room.

      • The kids were given a ballot and asked to select players in each age group; so they were somewhat included in the vote! Funny part is the roster still matches up with the board members and coaches!! Hmm?!?!
        I hope the kids the get overlooked bc their parents don’t coach or become board members, don’t let it get them down, but instead turn this heartbreak and frustration into an opportunity to prove to themselves and the league just what they are missing out on! And they also know their worth as an individual and a team player!
        All stars is nothing more than an extended season for the “involved” families!!

  8. […] of nepotism. Board members and coaches’ children get preferential treatment, they maintain. This article we wrote several years ago offers a pretty effective solution for this situation. While it may be too late […]

  9. So are you saying the votes were manipulated? Because it seems pretty risky that a league would do that, especially if a majority of players voted for a child who was left off the team.

  10. Well, you, for instance. As a constituent of the league you absolutely have a right to ask to see the ballots. And risky because the board members know that kids talk and if enough kids questioned why a certain player didn’t make the team when they all voted for him that the word would get out. But, again, ask to see the ballots would be the recommendation here.

  11. If you do choose to go that route, we would be very interested to hear what you found out

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