Though the name Mike Morrow has been associated with the tournament, the true father of this 62-year-old tradition is Les Cassie, long-time high school baseball coach and mentor to hundreds of young men in his career.
In the years immediately following World War II, San Diego high school baseball teams used to travel to Pomona to play in Easter vacation tournaments. In the fall of 1950, the school administrators decided these trips were too expensive and pulled the San Diego teams out.
Les Cassie was not deterred. He came up with the idea of putting on a tournament in San Diego and inviting Southern California high school teams to compete during Easter week.
"I remember Mike Morrow was a member of the Lions Club," Cassie says, "and one day, I asked him if he thought it possible that the Lions would sponsor a baseball tournament. In that gruff voice of his, Morrow said, 'Why not?'" Since he was a member of the Lions Club, Morrow suggested Cassie present a proposal to the Board, asking them to sponsor the venture. His proposal was approved, and that's how the tournament came to be. The tournament's top division is named after Morrow as a way of honoring him for his legendary career as a highly successful coach, popular teacher and mentor to hundreds of boys over many years.
Cassie made his mark on the tournament early, winning the championship six out of the first nine years, building San Diego High into a dynasty and sending an unusually large number of players on to the majors. This tradition has continued to the present day, with tournament participants being drafted by big-league clubs virtually every year (see Major leaguers).
When asked to name the best player he ever coached, Les Cassie rattled off a string of names, refusing to specify one. In fact, he recalled that San Diego was an athletic powerhouse in those days. "There were so many fine players, it's almost impossible to name them all."
Les Cassie retired in 1977, taking with him a scrapbook full of memories from a 30-year career as a coach, teacher and school administrator. Les lived quietly in Borrego Springs until a few years ago. His tournament has grown to be the oldest, biggest and in the opinion of many knowledgeable baseball people, the best high school tournament in the nation. Annually, the tournament attracts some of America's finest teams. According to some reports, it also attracts the largest collection of college and major league scouts to assemble in one place each year.
2003 Championships Rained Out
1999 Finals Rained Out
1991 - Rained Out