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Baseball Age Changes | What You Should Know | USSSA Little League

Updated October 23, 2020

By Brian Duryea | @BatDigest

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Little League International and PONY baseball changed the birthday cutoff from May 1st to August 31st. Within Little League, this rule is gradually implemented starting from 2016 through 2019. PONY baseball implemented the change in 2018. See the official announcement via ESPN.

Baseaball Age Cutoff Changes

Age Cutoff Following By League

League Age Cutoff Bats Pricing
Pony* August 31st USA Bats Check
Little League* August 31st USA Bats Check
Cal Ripken April 30th USA Bats Check
Babe Ruth April 30th USA/BBCOR Check/Check
USSSA April 30th USSSA Check
Unaffiliated Travel Ball Depends USSSA Check

Although both Pony and Little League baseball plan to adjust their baseball birthday cutoff dates, the current plan is to implement the plan on a different schedule. Pony baseball will implement the rule entirely starting in 2018. Little League has a grandfathered scale, which you can read about below. There appears, still, to be some discussion around Pony’s wholesale change, but we have yet to hear anything but a full-scale change come 2018.

Other major leagues, including Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth, USSSA, and AABC, have stated they are NOT changing the age cutoff.

See the entire USA Bats lineup.

As Little League is such an influential body, many leagues have followed suit, and even more, parents have been wondering how it will affect their child’s league. Below we attempt to answer the who, what, and why of the baseball age change.

Age Division by Age and Year

Little league is using a graduated schedule to change leagues. Below are the applicable charts for 2018 and 2019.

Little League Age ChangesLittle League Age Change

2018/2019 Baseball Age Change Sources

Several serious publications have covered the age change rules and implications for Little League. Little League’s second announcement on the age change rule is the most authoritative. They are, after all, the group creating all the hubbub. Among other dominant publications, ESPN put together an announcement on the matter, too.  This makes sense considering their Little League World Series is a flagship presentation on ESPN’s late summer broadcast.

We also exchanged emails with a couple of different folks at USSSA corporate offices.

2018 Baseball Age Change Rules

The rule change is simple enough. Age birthday cutoffs for a given year will change from May 1st to August 31st. This rule goes into effect beginning in 2018. In the first year, it will not apply to 12U or said differently. Those born May 1st to August 31st, 2005, can play 12U baseball. Otherwise, expect summer birthday boys to become the youngest on the Little League team, rather than the oldest.

In short, this makes it so no one playing in the Little League World Series, or other major baseball tournaments sponsored by Little League, are 13 years old in a 12U tournament.

The claim Little League makes is that the age birthday change puts them more in line with international age birthday cutoffs. Although wreaking havoc in some circles, the idea does make some sense.

2018 Baseball Age Change Fallout

If Little League International were the only governing body on the planet, this shift would be rather simple. Summer birthday kids could expect to find or create a new team for 2018 and beyond. At a maximum, this would be irritating and inconvenient.

But the problem extends beyond this because Little League is not the only governing body on the planet for youth baseball. Indeed, USSSA, PONY, Babe Ruth, and a host of other competitive baseball groups, including Triple Crown and Perfect Game, use the May 1st birthday cutoff. When teams are created at a neighborhood level, it is not uncommon for teams to play across multiple associations as they are not tied to a governing body. It will now be possible to put together a team that is ineligible in some leagues.

On a somewhat humorous note, there was a petition on gaining signatures against the age change. Apparently, this was even-handed to the Senior Vice President Of Operations of Little League International.

On the whole, we are not opposed to the change even if we think it is much ado about nothing. But the numerous organizations that follow their own set of rules, and the fact many players cross over leagues often, makes keeping track of it and planning for the coming years difficult.

Unaffiliated Travel Ball Teams Age Cutoff

Many unaffiliated travel ball leagues struggle to find a solution, especially as major non-Little League organizations have been rather quiet on the matter. Considering we no less than 10 months out, and many teams formed now are also based on next year’s run, you can expect some anxious coaches and parents.

Babe Ruth Age Cutoff Change

Babe Ruth will NOT be changing their age cut off dates. They made that public on their social media as well as on their age chart.

USSSA Age Cutoff Change

We sent two emails to different people up the chain of command in the USSSA administration. The first, our local Rocky Mountain office, said there had been no official announcement. The second, a national administrator for USSSA baseball based in Phoenix, said, “USSSA will not be changing our current age cut off for baseball.

However, they also have nothing on their website.

Cal Ripken Age Cutoff Change

Cal Ripken‘s website (here) is a place we often look at. You can also find them on Twitter for updates too. The fact they have made no official announcement makes us think they are simply not changing.

PONY Age Cutoff Change

We have been told that PONY baseball is also changing their age changes to August 1st for the 2018 season. They have yet to put any information on their site, but we were told they announced it at a meeting during the president’s day through the grapevine.

Updated October 23, 2020

October 23, 2020

By Brian Duryea | @BatDigest

Share This | Tag us @batdigest
Baseball Age Changes | What You Should Know | USSSA Little League


Pablo Soler says:

USSSA still has the same Age Division. They haven’t changed anything. Does anybody know why?

PabSol says:

I think this age change is great idea if they actually implemented it in USSSA. My boy would have the advantage being that he would be the oldest player on the team being a January baby. As it stands, he is forced to move up and play with these summer babys that already turned 8 while he was still only 6. That’s a huge difference in physical development at this age. IMO the cutoff date should be June 31 of the birth year. If you were born after June 31st then you have been that age less time in that year hence you should be able to play down. If before, then you move up.
We just got through playing a tournament where I was like, “there is NO WAY some of these boys are 8U”. And the parents think their kid is a phenom. Lmao!

Harlan Huelle says:

USSSA SHOULD CHANGE! It’s a joke that during the championship season most of the 12u and other divisions are all older than the stated divisions.

jessica lopez says:

my son graduated from high school and we moved to minnesota he wants to play in a time. he was born august 6, 2000. I ask can he play 18U

Anonymous says:

Can a 12year old play up with 13 -15 year olds

Brian says:

In most leagues, yes.

Byron says:

This age change has ruined baseball for my son. He is an August birthday, and he is one of the oldest ones in his grade. Last year he was in 2nd grade getting ready for his second season of 8u and was looking forward to being one of the top players in the league. Instead he had to move up & play with the 3rd & 4th graders, was one of the youngest players, and his confidence was shot. He also missed out on the all-star experience. I was told that the change would “put kids in their proper age group”. However, on the last pitch of the last game of the Pony World Series, he was 8 yrs old, yet he was not eligible for 8u. This year he was at least in the middle of his division age-wise, and it was better. But next year will be the same issue when he is in 4th grade and has to play with the 5th & 6th graders. To make it worse, when he is in 8th grade, he will actually be ineligible to play 14u (even though he will be 14 the whole season), so he will have to sit out a year if we do not go select. Regardless of my son’s specific circumstance, this was an unnecessary change, and all it did was cheat a large number of kids out of a year of baseball. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

John says:

Calendar year December 31 is truly the only way to keep it simple. This is how all other sports operate. Baseball is a dream and so fun for our youth and with this change it takes some kids whole year if eligibility away.

L says:

It is a terrible thing, my son will end his LL career at 11 years old and 10 months, yet players who were born in Oct or November, end their LL career at 12 years, 9 months. Summer birthdays are terrible. Hoew is that possible that he plays against boys 12 years 9/10 months older, but when he turns 13 only 1 month into the season, if they make the LL world series he can’t play. SOOOO WRONG!

Stephanie says:

My son just turned 7yrs old on March 27,2012. What division will he play this fall 2019? I have several coaches telling me different answers.

Pablo Soler says:

He has to play 8u because his birthday is before May 1, 2019.

nick says:

It should be December 31st cutoff, Calendar Year!!!

It’s a lot easier to tell a parent that their kid is on the “2009” team than explain the April 30th cutoff.

Every other Sport is calendar year (Softball, Soccer, Hockey, etc.)

Why would baseball need to be different?


how come only boys age changed and not girls softball girls go by calendar year in most leagues

Anonymous says:

It is REAL simple a 12 year old is in no way a 14 year old period.

Anonymous says:

The age has to cutoff somewhere, but it is not as simple as you say. My August birthday child will be 8 for his first 10u season and 9 for his second. Someone has to be the youngest, but mine really could have used another year to develop. A 14 year old is not a 12 year old, but an 8 year old is also not a 9 or 10 year old. Simple.

Brian says:

You are correct. If you start playing your season in August Fall ball then, as you state, you’ll play in a 13U season, for example, as an 11 year old whose birthday is later this month. Not much different than school. Most August birthday’s these days start a year later so they can be the oldest. That makes the whole ‘play with your grade’ idea a bit harder to manage. I suspect your boy is the oldest in his grade as you held him back a year—not the youngest? In any event, August birthday’s do not bode well for youth baseball players…

Gio says:

July 2005 BD league considered 12 for 2018
July 2005 BD League considered 14 for 2019

what happened to my kids 13 year old season.



My son was born August 22, 2006. In 2014 he played Little League as an 8 year old. In 2015 Little League changed the “little league age” and he suddenly was 10 years old even though he was only 9 years old the entire season. He made the all-stars and all the players on the team were actually 10 or 11 year old. He again made the all star team the following two years and played the ENTIRE 2018 season as an actual 11 year old little boy but was “Little League” 12. Consequently this year he had to play and compete as an 11 year old against boys that were up 16 months older than him. Is this right? Absolutely not, my son NEVER had an opportunity to compete against boys his own age so had Little League had grandfathered 2006 as they did 2004 & 2005 NOT ONE BOY would have been screwed. But Little League is perfectly okay with screwing little boys and they have ignored my emails and requests to grandfather one more year since my any boy like mine THAT WAS ALREADY IN LITTLE LEAGUE IN 2014 lost an entire year of little league and never had an opportunity to compete against boys their own age.

Anonymous says:

Calendar year age cutoff made more sense.

Andrew says:

I have to agree with bneva. It makes no sense at all for PONY rec ball? players with those birthdays will never be the age of the age division until the 2nd year! A player should at-least turn into the age for the division they play in the first spring season.

bNeva says:

How does Aug. 31st make sense. Most leagues are done by mid August. So a child with a birthday of Aug. 30th, 2011 will play the whole season as a 7 yr old but even though he will be 6 for the entire season?

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