The 47th Ward mainstay that is the Welles Park Baseball League is getting ready for its 23rd season.
More than 1,100 kids and young adults, between ages 5 and 18, will fill the rosters of 80 teams in six different leagues—averaging out to about 14 players per team—throughout spring and summer 2013 at the park, 2333 W. Sunnyside Ave. Online registration for returning players and their siblings begins Jan. 2 and runs through Jan. 11. Online pre-registration for new players to the WPPA begins on Jan. through Jan. 22.
David Nemeroff, WPPA board member and registration chair, said that he expects registration to be similar to last year’s.
“We expect a total of over 1,100 kids to register this season,” Nemeroff said. “That’s the number of kids that will be able to register. Unfortunately, we’ll also not be able to register everybody because we don’t have enough capacity for every single person that’s interested.”
Nemeroff estimates that 75-80 percent of the kids that play live within the 47th Ward.
League practices begin in early April with games slated to start in early May.
About 22 years ago, the Chicago Park District cancelled its summer baseball league at Welles Park, and since then, the Welles Park Baseball League has morphed into the largest private league in the city.
“I think [the league] has had a tremendous impact,” Nemeroff said. “We’re the largest youth baseball league in the City of Chicago. Welles Park baseball is very much a fabric of the community, particularly the 47th Ward.”