When the late Joseph Haley founded the Jackie Robinson West Little League in 1971, the Washington Heights area was changing demographically.

“So many people had moved from the South, kids were everywhere,” recalled Haley’s son, William Haley, who now sits on the board of directors.

“A lot of dads volunteered, and there were a lot of good strong people. My dad had a baseball background, and he started with one team — the Mustangs — in Abbott Park at 95th and Michigan,” he said.

At the time, there was already a league calling itself “Jackie Robinson.” So, the elder Haley named his team “Jackie Robinson West.”

Although the other Jackie Robinson team disbanded, Jackie Robinson West kept the name and developed a reputation for being an exceptional league.

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