It started as a public/private experiment and now, more than 50 years later, Omaha is synonymous with the College World Series.
The College World Series was first played in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1947. Kalamazoo hosted it again in 1948. The tournament was then moved the following year to Wichita, Kan and that year former President George Bush Sr. was captain of the Yale baseball team.
The College World Series was first played in Omaha in 1950 and total attendance was 17,805. Although the College World Series is now a profitable event, it lost money for 10 of the first 12 years that it was in Omaha – 1950-1961. Four Omahans who maintained their faith and interest in the College World Series during those "lean" years are due much of the credit for the tournament's continued presence in Omaha. They are the late Ed Pettis of the Brandeis Stores, the late Morris Jacobs and the late Byron Reed, both of Bozell & Jacobs, and the late Johnny Rosenblatt, Mayor of Omaha and an avid baseball fan.
How this community nurtured the College World Series from humble beginnings to its status as a nationally recognized event is quite a story. A story of how the people of Omaha, its business leaders, city officials and volunteers, embraced the Series and teamed up with the NCAA to make it grow.
Today, College World Series of Omaha, Inc., a non-profit organization, is the local organizing committee for the annual NCAA Division I Championship Baseball College World Series.
Guiding the activities of the local contributors and the many volunteers involved in the Series is the executive committee of the College World Series of Omaha, Inc. board. This group of dedicated individuals meets each month to develop policies and plans that assure the success and growth of each year's Series.
It has been our pleasure to host the CWS for more than 50 years. The Series is an event in which we take pride. A lot of hard work, dedication and commitment of many volunteers, local business contributors and the city, has built the College World Series from its humble beginnings to the enjoyable event it is today.
Continued fan support of the College World Series has made the event a very special place for teams that have had the opportunity to compete for the National Championship.
(Photo Source: From the College World SeriesCollection, owned by Durham Western Heritage Museum, Omaha, Neb.)