About 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 Committee (USOC) 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 12 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.
PROFESSIONAL TEAMS (including the World Baseball Classic Team)
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 2013 World Baseball Classic Team was managed by Joe Torre and led by the likes of David Wright, Joe Mauer and Rollins. Team USA advanced to the second round of the tournament before falling to Puerto Rico.
Other recent highlights for the Professional Team include winning the gold medal in the 2007 and 2009 World Cups. Those teams featured young stars such as Pedro Alvarez, Evan Longoria, Colby Rasmus and Justin Smoak.
In 2011, USA Baseball fielded one team of professional Minor League players to compete in both the World Cup and Pan American Games. The Pan American team posted a 10-6 record and took home the silver medal from Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. Joe Thurston and Brett Jackson led the team offensively, and Andy Van Hekken and Drew Smyly contributed strong pitching performances.
The World Cup Team was named co-bronze medalist of the IBAF Baseball World Cup, which was played in Panama. The U.S. shared the honor with Canada after their bronze-medal game was rained out.
COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team (CNT) is comprised of the top collegiate baseball players in the country. The team competes each summer in a schedule of exhibition games across the U.S. and overseas against the world's top baseball talent. As part of this schedule, the U.S. takes on the Japan Collegiate All-Stars nearly every summer, and squares off in international friendship series against the likes of Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba and the Netherlands.
The Collegiate program has witnessed great success in recent years. In 2009, for example, the U.S. won the inaugural World Baseball Challenge in Canada, and in 2011, the CNT posted an 11-2-1 record, defeating Japan in four out of five games during their international friendship series.
In 2013, the USA-Cuba international friendships series returned to the U.S. for the first time since 1996, with the CNT putting together a historic five-game sweep of the Cuban National Team. The CNT also traveled abroad to compete in the 39th annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series, where the host nation claimed a 3-2 series victory.
The 2014 Collegiate National Team's schedule will be highlighted by international friendship series against Chinese Taipei, Japan and a trip to Cuba, as well as competing in the Honkbal Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands.
Players who have taken the field for the Collegiate National Team and have gone on to have successful Major League Baseball careers include such notables as Jim Abbott, Troy Glaus, Todd Helton, Ryan Howard, Barry Larkin, Tino Martinez, Pedroia, David Price, Huston Street, Mark Teixeira, Troy Tulowitzki, 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 COPABE AAA/18U Pan American Championships and the WSBC 18U World Cup. The 2014 18U National Team continued its recent run of dominance on the international stage by repeating as Pan American champions, posting a perfect 8-0 record. The 18U National Team has now won four consecutive international gold medals: two 18U Pan American Championships (2011, 2014) and two WBSC World Cups (2012, 2013).
USA Baseball invites the top high school-aged players in America to the Tournament of Stars presented by Major League Baseball, an all-star tournament featuring the top 18U players in the country. The event is held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., and is used as the primary selection vehicle for the 18U National Team. Additionally, players are evaluated and selected for the 18U National Team Trials via the 17U National Team Identification Series and 17U National Team Development Program.
In addition to the 2015 Tournament of Stars, the 18U National team will compete in the WBSC 18U World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan.
Current Major Leaguers Matt Holliday, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer, Freddie Freeman and B.J. and Justin Upton have all worn the USA jersey as 18U players.
17U NATIONAL TEAM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
In 2012, USA Baseball fielded its first ever 17U National Team Development Program. Members of the 17U NTDP are identified through the 17U East and West National Team Championships and the National Team Identification Series. The players take part in skill-development sessions, listen to various guest speakers and compete in intrasquad games. The 17U NTDP serves as a tool for USA Baseball to prepare the players for future competition at the national-team level.
In 2014, three athletes from the 2013 17U NTDP made the final 20-man roster for the 18U National Team that won gold at the COPABE 18U Pan American Championships in La Paz, Mexico.
Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook and Appalachian State University head coach Billy Jones served as intrasquad managers for the 2014 17U NTDP and were joined on the coaching staff by USA Baseball alumni and former Major League Baseball players Ernie Young, Brad Wilkerson and John Gall.
15U NATIONAL TEAM
In 2012, USA Baseball rolled out its first-ever 15U National Team. The club, which is comprised of some of the most talented young players across the county, played four games in the Dominican Republic against the Dominicans and Puerto Rico. Team USA went 4-0 abroad, outscoring their opponents, 31-3.
In 2013, the 15U National Team traveled to Baranquilla, Colombia, for the COPABE 'AA'/15U Pan Am Championships, where it brought home the gold medal for the first time. En route to defeating Cuba, 6-1, in the championship game, the 15U squad amassed a perfect record, finishing 8-0 in the event.
Competing in its first WBSC 'AA' 15U World Cup in 2014, Team USA traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, and went 9-1 overall en route to claiming a silver medal. The 2014 campaign also saw the 15U National Team's Brice Turang bring home the 15U's first ever USA Baseball Richard "Dick" Case Player of the Year Award.
A staple on the 15U baseball community's calendar going forward, USA Baseball's 15U National Team Championships and National Team Identification Series help the organization identify players for the 15U National Team. The National Team Championships are held in two regions -- East (Florida) and West (Arizona) -- and up to 72 teams compete in each region. USA Baseball representatives and scouts select the top players from each event, and from there the National Team is chosen.
Following the NTIS and National Team Championships, the 15U National Team will travel to Aguascalientes, Mexico, where it will look to defend its 2013 Pan Am gold medal at the COPABE 'AA' Pan Am Championships.
14U NATIONAL TEAM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Along with the 17U National Team Development Program, 2012 was the inaugural year for the 14U National Team Development Program. Members of the 14U NTDP will be identified through the 14U East and West Championships and the National Team Identification Series. The players will take part in skill-development sessions, listen to various guest speakers and compete in intrasquad games. The 14U NTDP serves as a tool for USA Baseball to prepare its players for future competition at the national-team level.
In 2014, six athletes from the 2013 14U NTDP made the final 20-man roster for the 15U National Team that won silver at the WBSC 'AA' 15U World Cup in Mazatlan, Mexico.
University of Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb and University of Tampa head coach Joe Urso served as intrasquad managers for the 2014 14U NTDP and were joined on the coaching staff by USA Baseball alumni and former Major League Baseball players Ernie Young, Brad Wilkerson and Ty Griffin.
12U NATIONAL TEAM
In 2013, USA Baseball launched its first-ever 12U National Team. The team, which was comprised of some of the most talented young players across the county, traveled to Taipei City, Taiwan, and came home with its first IBAF 12U 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 2014 12U National Team was compromised of players from two main identifiers in the National Team Identification Series, and the National Open through the Open Development Camps. In the summer of 2014, the 12U National Team traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, for the Pan American Championships.
In 2015, the 12U National Team will head back to Taiwan for the third U12 World Cup in Tainan, Chinese Taipei, in looks to defend their gold medal in the 2013 World Cup. Players on the 2015 12U National Team will be identified through multiple identification events, including the NTIS, National Open and the inaugural Futures Invitational.
WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM
The USA Baseball Women's National Team (WNT) 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 IBAF Women's Baseball World Cup in Edmonton, Canada.
Team USA repeated as IBAF World Cup gold medalists in 2006 in Taiwan, before taking home the bronze medal at the 2008 World Cup in Japan and again in 2010 in Venezuela. In 2012, the WNT won a silver medal at the World Cup in Edmonton, Canada. Most recently, in 2014, the Women's National Team took home the silver medal from the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup, which was played in Miyazaki, Japan.
When not competing in the World Cup, the Women's National Team hosts a Women's Development Program, leads youth clinics and works to grow the game of baseball among women in the U.S.
USA Baseball will kick off its 2015 on-field programming with the inaugural Women's National Open, to be held Jan. 16-18 in The Woodlands, Texas. Players will compete in a series of skill sessions and games in an effort to be selected as one of the 34 players chosen to attend the Women's National Team Trials, to be held May 22-24. The 18 athletes selected from trials to round out the final roster will then go compete in the Pan American Games in Toronto, July 20-26.