Veto League is getting closer to a huge milestone. Seven players closer to be exact.
You will have to look far and wide to find another free pick-up baseball league as organized as Veto League Baseball. If one even exists, it most likely hasn’t gotten near the participation of the VLB.
In 1998, Matt Veto and his Moline High School classmates began playing “Veto League Baseball”. That year, 25 players had the opportunity of playing baseball just for the love of the game.
Over the next three years, just 26 new players participated, however, VLB was still there as a summer home away from home.
In 2002, a pivotal development happened -- stat tracking, and a website to view these stats. Over the next five seasons, VLB averaged 37 debuts per year.
2007 was a lost season, as there was no field available to play on, however, one game was played and two more players were added to the all-time roster.
The next year was a tremendous success, considering only one game was played the previous season. 42 players made their debuts both in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, the numbers dipped a bit, but there were still 35 players who came out to test the sandlot style baseball league.
The next two seasons are considered the most successful in the league’s history. In 2011, Veto League played a then-record 65 games with 57 new players, something no one believed would be matched.
Last season, VLB members showed their love for the game and friendship with one another by completing an unheard of 77 games. Even more impressive were the total number of VLB debuts – 69.
Coming into the 2013 season – Veto League’s 16th year – just 17 players were needed to bring the all-time roster to 500. This is something Commissioner and Founder Matt Veto never would have imagined.
Veto said in an official press release, “500 members? No, I didn’t think that would ever happen. I hadn’t even considered it. 200, maybe, but 500? No way.” He continued, “But then again, I also never thought I would give up wearing sweatpants as part of my daily routine, and look at me now. So you just never know. No one can predict the future.”
Opening weekend 2013 showcased 10 more debuts, leaving just seven players shy to hit 500. The landmark is expected to be met this weekend at Douglas Park.