Who We Are
Making a Difference
in Manasota Children's
Lives Since 2012
The Miracle League of Manasota is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for all children to play baseball, regardless of their ability. For the 14,000 school-aged children with disabilities in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the Miracle League of Manasota will build a synthetically surfaced baseball field and all the requisite amenities at a site that would serve children from both Counties. For the first time, children challenged by any form of disability will be empowered to enjoy the joys and thrills of baseball regardless of their ability to play. The opening game of the Miracle League of Manasota was held on Saturday, March 17, 2012.
The mission of the Miracle League of Manasota is to offer accessible recreational opportunities for children with special needs so that they can participate in a team sport as a member of an organized baseball league.
In 2007, nothing was happening. Other Florida cities had Miracle League baseball, but it took a meeting between Bob Mitchell and Major League Baseball pitcher Trever Miller to spark the process of bringing a Miracle League to the Sarasota-Bradenton area.
The former Tampa Bay Ray left-hander, the father of a handicapped child, showed Mitchell, a life insurance agent specializing in families with special needs and a board member of the local Easter Seals, a video on the Miracle League.
“I said, ‘I got to do that in Sarasota,'” Mitchell said. “‘It’s gotta be.'”
Thus, the project commenced. An existing softball field at Longwood Park, just off University Parkway, was earmarked for renovation according to Miracle League specifications.
Each field must have a flat, rubberized surface to accommodate the special needs players, accompanied at all times by a “buddy” who assists in the field and at the plate.
Sarasota County committed $500,000 to capital improvements, with Mitchell and his board of directors responsible for the remaining funds that will provide restrooms, a pavilion, a concession stand and electronic scoreboard “so the kids can see their picture.”
Said Mitchell, “My dream situation is we have so many kids signed up that we have to build another field.”
In 1997 the inaugural Miracle League formed outside of Atlanta. Its simple goal of giving children with special needs the chance to play baseball started a nationwide movement.
Since then, it’s expanded to 235 leagues around the country, with more than 200,000 participants. Some can’t walk, requiring wheelchairs and walkers, can’t hear or even see. Others have muscular dystrophy, autism, spina bifida and Down syndrome. In the Miracle League, they’re all equal. In the Miracle League, no one is turned away.
With Bob’s vision, the generosity of dozens of partners including Sarasota County, the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates our league has been thriving since 2012! We’ve grown immensely in such a short period of time and we’re looking forward to the future with great enthusiasm.
Miracle League of Manasota's Founder, Bob Mitchell
Building partners and gaining the support of the community is what helps Miracle League of Manasota serve so many. We would love to have you as one of our partners or as a volunteer to help further the dreams of our participants.
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 surface 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 accessible restrooms, a concession stand, and picnic pavilion.