CHICAGO (CBS) — On Wednesday, the national champion Jackie Robinson West All-Stars will be the toast of the town, as the city hosts two rallies and a parade through the South Side to celebrate the team’s success in the Little League World Series.
The team of 11- and 12-year-old boys was the first Chicago team to reach the Little League World Series since 1983 and the first since 1967 to reach the final game. Jackie Robinson West might have lost to the South Korean team in the title game, but Chicago is no less proud of its hometown team after bringing home the national championship.
Wednesday’s festivities begin with a 9 a.m. rally at the team’s home ballpark, Jackie Robinson Park in Washington Heights.
After the rally, the team and their families will pack onto buses for a parade along Halsted Street, north to 35th Street, where it will take a turn east to U.S. Cellular Field, for a brief stop and salute from the White Sox. Six players on the Jackie Robinson West team were also members of the White Sox Amateur City Elite (ACE) program, which provides training and academic guidance for inner-city baseball players. A handful of White Sox coaches and ACE program organizers will be on hand to help congratulate the boys.
Then the parade will continue east to Indiana Avenue and head north along Indiana and then Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park, for another rally downtown around 11 a.m.
The 15-mile parade route might be the longest in Chicago’s history, passing through at least a dozen neighborhoods, including Bridgeport. They’ll go right past Morrie O’Malley’s hot dog stand, a popular spot for Sox fans. Owner Bob O’Malley said they plan to cheer right along with the rest of the team’s fans.
“We might put some signage up, and we are going to definitely be out in front,” he said. “Our customers can wait until they go by.”
It’s a well-deserved celebration for the 13 players, their coaches and their families. They got a heroes’ welcome on Monday night when they returned home from Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, the entire city can join the celebration.
The city has encouraged those who want to watch the parade to use one of five viewing locations on Halsted Street – at 103rd Street, 95th Street, 87th Street, 79th Street and 63rd Street – plus outside U.S. Cellular Field, or at Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park.