12-year-old pitcher “too strong” for Mass. Little League team

Published On May 24, 2013 | By Sarah Kirkpatrick

12-year-old Tanner Beebe of Westfield, Mass., played lacrosse as his primary sport for a while. But in the fall, he decided to give baseball a try.

“He had a love for watching pitching,” said his father, Chris Beebe. “He wanted to try pitching.”

Little League Baseball is split into two “major” and “minor” divisions. While the exact ages within the two divisions vary from program to program, generally the minor division consists of seven- to 11-year-olds. However, a waiver can be acquired for 12-year-olds to participate in the minor league division.

According to Chris, Tanner opted to play in the minor league division, due to his lack of experience.

But Tanner ended up being really good. Tanner threw pitches up to 60 miles per hour — that translates into 80 mph from 60-foot-6 away. Not too shabby for a kid who’s played for less than a year.

Tanner was so good, in fact, that he captured the attention of Little League officials — but not in too positive of a way.

“After a game, some parents complained that he threw too hard, and a rule was invoked that he’s no longer allowed to pitch,” Chris said.

Tanner, understandably, thought the ruling was unjust.

“I think it’s unfair because the rule was that I could pitch, and that’s the reason I did minors instead of majors,” Tanner said. “It’s because I would have a better chance of pitching. So now that people have complained that I’m too good, it’s not fair. It’s like judging someone by their skill.”

It’s not much of a secret that youth sport is getting more competitive all the time, and for parents to flat out tell a kid he’s “too good” is a bit odd given that athletes seem to be getting better at much younger ages. One would think that parents would want their child to get to that same level rather than remove that standard. But instead, these particular parents elected to keep their division fair and simply about the game rather than have an “all-star” or an overly competitive league. It’s a breath of fresh air that unfortunately comes at the expense of a young boy who just wants to play a sport he loves.

But surely if Tanner is “too good” or too strong for Little League, then he’s good enough to play at a higher level of baseball. He’ll have some success in the future, whether that is in high school or for a club team.

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About The Author

Sarah is a Seattle native studying journalism at Boston University. She covers track and field, cross country and women’s hockey and is Sports Editor at The Daily Free Press, BU’s independent student newspaper. You can follow her on Twitter at @Kirkpatrick_SJ.