American Legion Baseball is one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues in America. The program got its start in Milbank, South Dakota on July 17, 1925, by action of the South Dakota Department of The American Legion. It was expanded nationally later that year, and the first national tournament (involving teams from 16 states) was held in 1926. Today, the program registers more than 5,400 teams in all 50 United States, including Canada and Puerto Rico. Through the years, more than 10 million young men have played on American Legion teams. Nationally, American Legion Baseball is divided into eight regions, each with numerous state programs. Each region holds an annual tournament, with the tournament winner advancing to the American Legion Baseball World Series in Shelby, North Carolina.
Part of the American Legion Baseball Northwest Region (Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming), the Montana-Alberta American Legion Baseball Conference has class “AA” (senior), class “A” (junior), and class “B” teams in numerous Montana communities, one Idaho community, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.
The “AA” teams are divided into two divisions, east and west. “A” teams are divided into four districts with some district subdivisions. “AA” and “A” teams play a full season schedule and participate in post-season and tournament play. “B” teams play a limited number of regular season games and do not participate in post-season or tournament play.
The conference is managed by a seven-officer governing committee. The committee annually selects Most Valuable Players (MVPs), Coaches of the Year, and American Legion scholarship winners for conference classes “AA” and “A.”
District, division, and conference/state championship tournaments are held annually for classes “AA” and “A.”
Billings American Legion Baseball has a rich history dating back to the 1920s. Originally, the program had a single team, known simply as Billings Post #4. The team won its first state championship in 1930 and repeated in 1950, then won every state championship in the fifties and sixties except for 1953 and 1968. The team’s state winning streak extended into 1970 and 1971.
Billings Post #4 earned its first trip to the American Legion World Series in 1958, advancing to the final game. World Series berths were earned again in 1960, 1961, and 1962.
In 1974, responding to Billings’ growing population, Billings Post #4 split into two teams: the Billings Royals and Billings Scarlets. These teams have carried on the tradition of the original team, winning numerous state championships. BALB expanded again in the early 1980s with the addition of feeder teams for the Royals and Scarlets: the Billings Blue Jays and Billings Cardinals, respectively. These four teams make up the program today. For purposes of conference and tournament play, the Royals and Scarlets are “AA” (or senior) teams. The Blue Jays and Cardinals are “A” (or junior) teams.
The quality of the BALB program throughout its history is reflected in the number of program alumni who have gone on to play with professional baseball organizations. More than 40 players have done so, with 4 players of them earning spots in Major League Baseball.