Baseball is not just a sport but a national heritage rooted in the simple and often rough bat and ball game played by our forebears. It's come a long way from its roots, largely because its earliest players organized it, and give it a set of rules from the top, that have undergone changes over the years to make it the sport and pastime it has become.
Today, a number of growing baseball governing bodies provide volunteer services, resources, set and enforce standard rules for baseball among the various levels of players both nationally and around the globe. Following is a list of some of the more prominent baseball organizations and a brief description of their functions.
Little League Baseball is a non-profit organization that maintains international little league baseball based in the US, and includes regional, district, and local Little Leagues in the US and around the world. The organization oversees the training of volunteers and makes sure teams are following guidelines put forth by the Little League. The league provides facilities, voluntary services and resources for little baseball players.
Little League Baseball divisions encompass sixteen regions in the US and abroad, only eight of which are in the US.
Junior, Senior, and Big League Baseball divisions of Little League Baseball are geared toward overseeing competition baseball at the more advanced level. It sets the rules and criteria for young players, including bat size, cleat standards, pitching distances, lead-offs, steals, and more. Junior, Senior and Big League Baseball divisions encompass five US regions.
USA Baseball is the National Governing Body (NGB) for amateur baseball. The organization is a member of the US Olympic Committee, and of the International Baseball Federation. The USA Baseball National Member Organization embodies almost every major amateur baseball establishment in America. USA Baseball is a resource hub for players, fans and groups, and serves as a grass roots promoter of baseball at home and abroad.
Major League Baseball (MLB) refers to the baseball governing body comprising North America's top two baseball leagues: the National League, and the American League. It is considered the highest level of professional baseball in North America and includes the two leagues, thirty teams, and more than 750 active baseball players. The Major League is governed by the Major League Constitution, first written in 1920.
National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the National League, and sometimes referred to as the Senior Circuit, is one of two leagues united in Major League Baseball. It stands as the oldest professional team sports league in existence, replacing the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in 1876.
American League, or sometimes known as the Junior Circuit (for being younger than the National League), is the other baseball organization under Major League Baseball, and was founded in 1901.
International Baseball Federation functions as the worldwide baseball governing body that oversees and enforces policies at the international level. Recognized by the International Olympic Committee, its duties include organizing, approving, and standardizing worldwide tournaments and rankings among its national members for mens and womens baseball, including designating the title of World Champion.