In the summer of 1951, PONY Baseball began with the organization of the Pony
League in Washington, PA. On June 8th, 6 managers participated in the first
player "auction." More than 130 boys were purchased at that auction.
On June 18th the first regular season Pony Baseball game was played between the
Redwings and the Chiefs with the Redwings winning in 7 innings. The game was
played at Wash High field, with an estimated 800 people in attendance. The
original teams were named: the Bisons, the Chiefs, the Colonels, the Orioles,
the Redwings and the Royals.
The growth of Pony Baseball, primarily by word of mouth, was rapid. By the end
of the second season, 1952, the original six teams in Washington were joined by
505 others in 106 leagues across the country. A national tournament was
conducted, and the first Pony League World Series was held that year. In 1952
the first Pony World Series was played sharing headlines with the Korean War. It
was an 8 game event over a 4 day period.
Lew Hays, among the founders of the Pony League, was named Commissioner of the
new league when it was incorporated for national organization in early 1953 and
held that post until 1964 when he became president of PONY Baseball.
In 1953, John Laslo, long time mayor of Martin's Ferry, Ohio, visited with Hays
and discussed organization of a league similar to Pony League for 15 and 16
year-old players. The purpose was to permit players in this age bracket to
compete with players of like experience in their first years on the regulation
diamond. Laslo guided the development of Colt League, and in late 1959, Pony
League and Colt League were merged into a single organization.
Now nearly 30,000 teams, over 450,000 players, and 4,000 leagues make up Pony
Baseball in almost 30 different countries.
South Hills Pony