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luke.jpg

     Lucas Bomback
   Co-founder of ABL

The Humble Beginnings.

Autumn Baseball League (ABL)

It was in the summer of the year 2000 the seed was planted and by the Fall sprouted the Autumn Baseball League.

For years I had coached and managed youth baseball and in every league and at every level I would see the trend...many of those without any influential attachments or natural and raw talent were left by the wayside.  Let me explain!  These kids, in most cases, were neglected resulting in either quitting or becoming under achievers with low self esteem.   So as the years past, many of those players would fall behind on the baseball learning curve and eventually by the age of 13 would lose interest and quit altogether.  

The proof: 

Reduced applications of recruits graduating from Little League advancing

to the Senior Little League and/or the Babe Ruth. 

So what was / is currently happening in youth baseball? 

In my opinion, a great deal of talented and potentially talented kids were not making the coveted All Star teams.  These players know what's going on behind the scenes.   Some get very frustrated when they have worked hard on the diamond and see "Little Johnny" (who’s parents are friends or relatives with the manager or have financially influenced their way into the organization) get appointed to the All Star team and hadn't got a base-hit all season!

Well I have two sons, my eldest Jason had played 3rd base in high school and quit the team during his Jr. season.  Although I'm not absolutely sure why, I did get the impression that he was frustrated with the system.   However during his shortened high school baseball career, he was being scouted by Mr. Mons of the major league team Pittsburg Pirates as well as numerous colleges.  Well needless to say I was devastated when Jason hung up his spikes.

Now, with my younger son Lucas (19 years younger than his brother), I started the coaching cycle once again and became a "retread" (so to speak) in the youth baseball world.  Lucas' friends played in the Swansea Baseball Independent League (SIBL) and that’s where he wanted to go.   Personally I was unfamiliar with SIBL and knew only a few associated with the league.

The Genesis of the ABL in year 2000

In the year 2000, Lucas, 7 years old at the time, would practice daily and workout diligently to become a better player.  His SIBL manager placed him in the outfield because he played it well moreover the coach had his faves playing the infield.   (At ages 8 - 10, in my opinion, players should move from position to position).  At this tender young age, most of the kids want to play the infield but I would explain to Lucas that teams need outfielders as well and can't win without them... but occasionally Luke would play 3rd.

Sometimes for practice we would go to the Diman High School field and I would hit him "Major League" fly balls.  He performed well and knew he was as talented as anyone at SIBL. 

Although Lucas hit several homeruns and played a solid infield and outfield throughout the season...he was not chosen for the All Star team.  He completely broke down and cried like a baby when he received the news... I had no explanations for him and broke down with him.  My heart fell out of my chest...  I looked at who was picked for the team and felt that a few were...  well... I think you know what I mean.   I didn't make a fuss with SIBL and in time Lucas accepted it and moved on!

 

With the SIBL regular season ending during the latter part of June and Lucas not playing

on the SIBL All Stars, his baseball was finished for the rest of the summer.

 

I wanted to do something for him and for all of kids who were not playing.  I felt that there's a need for a league that encourages free spirit and competition which allows all to feel like they are part of the a team.  A league to learn the game (as well as learn how to win and lose), to become better players (on and off the field), and one that politics has no place.  I wanted it to be fair for everyone, including the kids with no affluence or no influence.  Youth leagues are suppose to be for the kids and not the adults craving and searching for some kind of power and control.

The most important factor why the ABL got started is because after talking to Lucas about playing more baseball during that summer of 2000, he encouraged me to gather some kids to play a few games...  In August of 2000 I did just that by notifying all local newspapers and called everyone I knew who was involved in baseball, including those at SIBL.  I was just hoping for enough players to form 2 teams.  I had my fingers crossed. 

In August of 2000 the tryout was at Maplewood Park in Fall River and I couldn't believe the turnout!  Enough kids showed up to fill 12 teams...  The first year was a huge success after which I was encouraged to do it again in 2001. 

Year 2 had 16 teams, year 3 with 21 teams, year 4 - 24 teams, year 5 - 26 teams, year 6  - 35 teams, year 7 - 33 teams, year 8 with 29, 10th - 44 and this year 2010 - 43 teams from Quncy, Mass. to Plymouth, Mass., extending into Southern R.I. (Kingston, RI) and many cities and towns in between. (12th year (2011) - 49 teams playing Autumn Baseball).

The ABL saw a decline in teams for a few years and not because of the lack of popularity in baseball but quite the contrast!  In those years, baseball had grown in popularity because of local little leagues starting their own fall leagues.  So if you take into consideration the total teams prior to year 2000 (0 teams) and present, there are now well over 60 fall teams throughout our region for our boys and girls to play ball.  

I have to give all the accolades to my son, Lucas, who encouraged me to create what is now the Autumn Baseball League.  I'll never forget Lucas' heartbreaking emotion of rejection and disappointment during that 2000 SIBL season and I'll never forget that big smile on his face and how excited he was to be playing in the first year of the his new baseball league.

In tribute to my son Lucas, I wanted to name the league after him.  Originally I called the league:  The League of Autumn Baseball or the LAB.  My son's name is:  Lucas Alexander BombackBecause the letters ABL seemed to roll off the tongue more fluently and after discussions with local sports writer Greg Sullivan of the Fall River Herald News, it was decided to go with ABL.

It's been exciting and rewarding history for youth baseball in Southeastern New England since the year 2000.  In 2009 and 2010, ABL teams competed from as far as Quincy (Boston area) and Plymouth (Cape Cod), MA as well as teams throughout Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts.  This year I have received a call from a coach from Salem, MA and I told him that if his team is willing to travel then he's in.

 

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THE 2010 SEASON PRODUCED 43 BASEBALL TEAMS.  That's approximately 650 +- players, 88 +- coaches, 1200 + parents and grandparents and many more sponsors and supporters.

 

2011 SEASON:  We're looking to expand!  The ultimate goal:  an ABL World Series with teams representing each state in New England.  We're not there yet but the 1,000 mile journey started with the first step.

 

2011:  49 teams a new ABL record.

 

2012:  54 teams another ABL record.

 

2013:  60 teeams another ABL record.

 

2014:  84 teams.

 

2015:  76 teams *

 

2016:  66 teams

 

 

Herman Bomback

www.AutumnBaseballLeague.com 

Email:  AutumnBaseballLeague@live.com

ABL, Commissioner

written 11/03/07 (updated: Sept. 9th, 2013)

 

 

* As stated in the narrative above, fluxuations in growth is expected because of local and regional leagues/programs have been following in the footsteps of the ABL... creating their own Fall programs.

 

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Take due notice thereof, and govern yourself accordingly.