Season 1, Episode 11
Our guest on this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast is Jim Quinlan, former National Director of American Legion Baseball. During his 30 years in the position, the national American Legion World Series tournament was held in a different city every year, which involved a bid review process and also and orientation process for each new city. Understandably, this took considerable time and effort, in addition to the logistical challenges, so Jim and the others in leadership decided to find a permanent home for the American Legion World Series. Because of their enthusiasm and resources, Shelby, NC, quickly rose to the top of the lot of cities being considered, and the commitment of Eddie Holbrook and the 600-700 annual volunteers ultimately made Shelby victorious in their quest.
There are 4,000 high-school aged teams in the American Legion baseball league, and during the playoff tournaments at the district, sectional, state, and regional levels, 8 teams earn the opportunity to come to Shelby for the national tournament every summer. The teams are housed in local hotels for a week and hosted by community and church groups who organize events and local trips for the players and coaches during their off-times. ESPN-U broadcasts the games live and hundreds of volunteers help the events run smoothly and with the ultimate southern hospitality. Fans come from all over the Carolinas to watch the games as well as the families and friends of the players and coaches from across the country, and there is a special emphasis on honoring veterans throughout the week. Eddie Holbrook works hard to raise funds to improve the facilities every year, and the whole experience is first class.
How the American Legion World Series Made Shelby NC Home Base:
A look at how it all comes together: