OPTIMIST YOUTH BASEBALL
History of Fort Worth Optimist Club Youth Baseball --1955-2023
The Optimist Club of Fort Worth has now sponsored a youth baseball league for sixty-nine consecutive years. Our goal has always been to teach our kids to try their best, have FUN, learn the game of baseball, and be a good sport. We strive for “healthy competition”.
It all began for us in 1955 at Thornton Field located off McCart Ave., in South Fort Worth. (Note: The Fort Worth Jaycees had first started the Thornton Field league in 1953, as one of the very first chartered Williamsport, Pennsylvania Little Leagues, in Fort Worth.)
When our Downtown Fort Worth Optimist Club took over this league in 1955, it only served 9–12-year-old boys in major and minor age divisions.
In 1982, Thornton Steel needed to reclaim their property, so we had to move first to Snapper Field, and then to McCarthy Baseball Park, both located between I-20 and W. Felix. We left there in 2017 to make way for “progress”.
Today our baseball program has recovered from Covid, and we are serving boys, and some girls, from ages 5 through 14. These are mainly kids from the Southside, TCU and Wedgwood areas of Fort Worth. But now we are part of another outstanding baseball organization called PONY baseball. There are five divisions: 6U Tee Ball (Shetland - new in 2024); 8U Coach Pitch (Pinto); 10U Kid Pitch (Mustang); 12U Kid Pitch (Bronco); and 14U Kid Pitch (the Original Pony). (PONY = Protect Our Nations’ Youth)
Our home field is now the revamped YMCA Sports Complex, 4320 Altamesa Blvd. (formerly the Blue Raider Fields.) We are “locked in” with several other chartered PONY Leagues, including Crowley, Everman, Joshua and several others.
Through the years, our 10U, 12U and 14 U PONY All-Star Tournament teams have done well competing against other tournament teams in the North Texas area. Our All-Star team players have often won beautiful rings and medallions and advanced from district to area and all the way to zone, which is the last tournament before the PONY League World Series. Our teams have qualified for Zone and traveled to play in Florida, Louisiana, Houston, Laredo, (and even Burleson). In fact, this past summer our 10U Mustang All-Stars, coached by Tommy Janes and Faustino Salazar, made it all the way to the Zone Quarterfinals in LaPorte, Texas.
And who knows, maybe one of our Fort Worth Optimist All-Star teams in 2024 will do just like our Texas Rangers did, and win our first World Series.
M H Moore Mustangs
Provides playing opportunities for ages 8 -12.
PROVIDES PLAYING OPPORTUNITIES FOR AGES 8 TO 14.