The league was created in 2004 as the Great Lakes Youth Baseball League by a group of individuals who were dissatisfied with the philosophy of what at the time was the largest youth baseball league in SE Wisconsin. Prior to the 2006 season the founders of the league were no longer able to administer the league, so they passed the league onto Shawn Kramlich. That 2006 season the league had 2 age levels and only 11 teams.
Since taking over the league in 2006, Shawn has provided much of the impetus behind the explosive growth of youth baseball in Wisconsin. The first change he made was allowing 11 year olds to play using real baseball rules (leading off and stealing). Then 10 and 9 year olds were given the same opportunity. For many years, we were the only league in Wisconsin offering such opportunities. What we take for granted today, 9-11 year olds playing real baseball, was not an option until the MAJOR YBL started offering it in 2006.
Still very modest in size in 2009, the league had nearly tripled in size to 32 teams. In 2011, the league had grown substantially to 78 teams. Also in 2011, we were the first league in Wisconsin to offer a league for 8-year-olds.
As the league continued to innovate and set the direction of youth baseball in Wisconsin, in 2012 it surpassed 100 teams. Then just 2 years later, in 2014 we became the first and only league to date in Wisconsin to surpass 200 teams and became the largest youth baseball league in Wisconsin that year. The innovation continued during this period as the league added competition based breakdowns at each age level and then added geographic breakdowns.
The addition of the competitive and geographic breakdowns really accelerated the league’s grow. In just 3 years the league grew from 200 teams in 2014 to over 300 teams for the 2017 season. The innovations have continued, with the introduction of our 7-year-old select baseball in 2017 and for the 2019 season offering leagues for 15U-18U players. The MAJOR YBL now offers the opportunity for children to play baseball from age 7 to 18. No other league in Wisconsin offers the same. As we look towards the future, as the clear trendsetter in youth baseball in Wisconsin, the future looks very bright.