In 1973, the Japan Boys League wanted to send a team of their 14-15 year olds to California to play a series of friendship games. Their goal was to promote International understanding and friendship between Japan and the United States. They asked P.A. Shibata, a well known and respected Japanese businessman living in Hayward, to make this dream possible. Mr. Shibata arranged games against teams from Hayward, Santa Maria and Gardenia. The Japanese team at that time stayed at local hotels throughout their visit. Similar trips occurred in 1975 and 1977.
Alameda first became aware of these games in 1977. Several Alameda Babe Ruth Board members went to see the games. When they learned that the Japanese players were staying in hotels, they offered to host the Japanese players in Alameda homes the next time they came to the Bay Area. As a result, when the Japan Boys League asked Mr. Shibata in 1978 to form a team to go to Japan for two weeks of friendship games, they asked Mr. Shibata to bring a team from the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Howard Zenimura of Fresno was asked to manage the team. Member families of the Japan Boys League graciously invited the young American players to stay in their homes during their visits.
In 1979, the Japan Boys League team came to California again, with Alameda, Fresno and San Diego offering home stay for the young Japanese players during the trip. In 1980, a San Diego team led by Al Alvarado went to Japan, and in 1981 a small tournament was held in Gardenia, California with teams from Japan, Mexico and California participating. By this time it was common practice for the host country to house the young players of foreign teams.
In 1982, an informal organization called the International Boys League was formed. Its purpose was and remains today to foster international goodwill and friendship by holding a world youth baseball tournament each year. The host team invites participants, is responsible for organizing the tournament, and provides home stay for the players on the foreign teams.
The First International Boys League tournament was held in Osaka, Japan in 1982 with four Japanese teams and four foreign teams participating.
During the succeeding years, teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Taiwan, Cuba, Guatemala, Italy, Puerto Rico, Singaport, South Korea, two from Mexico (Rojo - or Red - from Baja California, and Verde - or Green - from Mainland Mexico) and six from the United States (Alameda, Castro Valley, Fairfield, Fresno, Hawaii and San Diego) have participated in these tournaments.
The past locations and tournament champions are as follows: