The Miracle League of Westchester is preparing for Spring 2009 Season, opening on April 25, 2009, and we need volunteers to make the league’s third season even more successful than the others. As we prepare for Opening Day, we need people who can participate in one of the following areas:
Team Coaches…to ensure an environment of fun and participation for their respective teams. Player “Buddies”…to assist the players during the games. Buddy Leaders…to be responsible for communication with the buddies on each team and ensure that appropriate buddies are assigned to players. Team Parents...to assist the teams, to plan extracurricular events, ensure snacks at the games, and mentor buddies.
Interested volunteers can click on the "Buddy Reg." link located in the menu bar on the right of this page. Buddies over the age of 16 must fill out the form using full legal name, date of birth and driver license number if you have one.
For questions please contact our buddy coordinator, Scott Barber, at
We're making history! The Miracle League of Westchester is just the latest of 149 Miracle Leagues around the country, but already we're making history.
The Miracle League field at Ridge Road Park in Hartsdale, NY, is the first Miracle field to be built in New York State, and the first field of its kind ever to be funded by a county government.
Our story began when Steve Madey of New Rochelle, after seeing a Miracle Field in Atlanta, GA, thought of bringing the idea to Westchester County late last summer. He proposed it to County Legislator Martin Rogowsky (Harrison), a fellow baseball fan and someone Steve had worked with before when he was Executive Director at United Cerebral Palsy in Westchester. Along with Diane Alford, Executive Director of the national Miracle League, they presented the idea to County Executive Andy Spano and County Parks Commissioner Joe Stout. The county executive and the parks commissioner almost immediately made the commitment to provide not only the field site but also the financing to build it. The new field was funded under the Westchester County Parks Legacy Program.
Madey took on the role of executive director of the newly founded Miracle League of Westchester. Creating the league enabled him to merge his two passions - working with children with disabilities and baseball. Steve has spent much of his professional career dedicated to the needs of the disabled population--as an educator, administrator and expert in assistive devices. Madey is currently Director of Education of the SAIL program at Ferncliff Manor, and still serves as the commissioner of one of the nation's leading collegiate amateur baseball leagues. This experience has provided him a unique perspective on the importance of baseball for special needs children.
Miracle League History: How It All Began
The idea for the Miracle League came about in 1997. After watching a seven-year-old boy come to every practice game and cheer on his younger brother from his wheelchair, Coach Eddie Bagwell invited the child to join his team and participate in their baseball game.
And in 1998, the Rockdale (Georgia) Youth Baseball Association (RYBA) formed the Miracle League to further its mission of providing opportunities for all children to play baseball regardless of their ability. The disabled children in the community had expressed the desire to dress in uniforms, make plays in the field, and round the bases just like their healthy peers. The league began with 35 players on four teams.
There were no programs for the Miracle League to copy. It was decided that:
o Every player bats once each inning o All base runners are safe o Every player scores a run before the inning is over (last one up gets a home run) o Community children and volunteers serve as 'buddies' to assist the players o Each team and each player wins every game
The main concern was that the Miracle League teams played on the same grass fields as the RYBA teams, presenting potential safety hazards for players in wheelchairs or walkers.
In its spring, 1999 season, the Miracle League gained support and became a source of pride for all involved as participation grew to over 50 players. During that season, the magnitude of the need for such a program was recognized. It was learned that there are over 50,000 plus children in Metro Atlanta who are disabled to some degree that keeps them from participating in team sports. That is when the dream of building a unique baseball complex for these special children was conceived.
The Rotary Clubs of Rockdale County and Conyers stepped forward to form the Rotary Miracle League Fund, Inc., a 105(c) 3 organization. The new organization had two objectives: (1) raise the funds necessary to build a special complex with facilities that meet the unique needs of the Miracle League players, and (2) assist in the outreach efforts for the Miracle League.
With the help of community volunteers and companies, the design and construction of the first Miracle League complex was underway. The complex would include a custom-designed field with a cushioned rubberized turf to help prevent injuries, wheelchair accessible dugouts, and a completely flat surface to eliminate any barriers to wheelchair-bound or visually impaired players. The design also included three grass fields, which could be converted to the synthetic turf as the league grew. In addition, accessible restrooms, a concession stand, and picnic pavilion.
The Miracle League complex was completed in April 2000. On opening day, the Miracle League rosters had grown to over 100 players. The players raced around the bases and chatted with their teammates in the dugouts as they celebrated. Nicholas Slade, a player who had been in a coma just a week before, threw out the first ball.
The players' enthusiasm has continued to grow. By spring, 2002, over 250 players filled the Miracle League rosters. The parents tell stories of their children insisting on playing despite bouts with kidney stones, broken bones, and recent hospitalizations. The thrill of playing, the cheers from the stands, and the friendships they develop make the Miracle League Field an oasis away from their everyday battles.
In its first season, there were no programs to copy. It was decided that each player would bat once each inning that all batters would be safe and score a run before the inning was over. Each team and each player always wins. Our umpire describes this as the only league where no one ever gets mad at him or her.
“Buddies” assist Miracle League player. These buddies are mainstream children who play baseball, youth church groups, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, to mention a few. As a result, the parents, children and volunteers are all brought together--special need and mainstream alike--in a program that serves them all through service to children with special needs. The program is open to children from any community and, until December 1, 2001 was one of a kind.
The Miracle League has received local and national media attention. The league has been chronicled in the local newspaper, televised both locally on NBC, ABC Connecting With Kids and FOX Atlanta affiliates and nationally on CNN, MSNBC and Fox Sports. In July 2001, the league was profiled on a segment of HBO's Real Sports. Articles profiling the league appeared in People, Family Circle and Rotary International magazines. In January 2002 two men from the Miracle League were awarded the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award and on January 24th PAX TV's “It A Miracle” told the story of Conyers Miracle League Player Lauren Gunder. In February of 2002, the Miracle League Players were featured in Rotary Internationals' PSA, chosen out of 500 applicants. In the winter of 2002, the Miracle League again was profiled in the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. In January of 2002, it won the 11ALIVE TV Community Service Award and in June of 2002 took the Jefferson Award, awarded by The American Institute for Public Services, founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Senator Robert Taft, Jr. The publicity from these media events, coupled with positive word of mouth, raises awareness among the families of special need children and allows the Miracle League Association to take the program across the country.
As of April 2006 there are 143 Miracle League Organizations across the country, 41 completed rubberized fields, 61 fields under construction and another 30 plus groundbreakings scheduled for 2006.
Miracle League at Ridge Road Park is a rubberized baseball field with painted on lines and field dimensions. The smooth surface allows for children with disabilities to enjoy baseball in a safe and unencumbered fashion.