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Sign Congratulating Player Was Trigger For Jackie Robinson West Investigation

(CBS) The trigger for an investigation that has resulted in Chicago's Jackie Robinson West being stripped of its U.S. title in last August's Little League World Series was a sign congratulating one of the players in a town that resided outside the team's boundaries, the whistle-blower told the Spiegel and Mannelly Show on Wednesday morning.

The complaint of Evergreen Park Little League vice president Chris Janes put the wheels in motion in this controversy, and his suspicions were raised when he saw a marquee in Lynwood Village calling one of the players on Jackie Robinson West their own. Lynwood Village is outside Jackie Robinson West's boundaries.

"The first thing I saw was Lynwood's town hall with a sign, the mayor congratulating one of the players, claiming them as one of their own," Janes said. "Then it just became a matter of you Google a player's name, up comes their hometown.

"You don't have to know Jackie Robinson's specific boundaries to know that Lansing, Lynnwood, South Holland are not part of it."

Listen: Full interview with Chris Janes on Spiegel and Mannelly

Janes never filed a formal complaint. He simply sent an email to Little League International officials that set the wheels in motion, he said.

Originally, Little League officials found no wrongdoing back in December. But upon further investigation and more talks with members of Jackie Robinson West's home district, Little League found that the team drew players from outside their boundaries.

In addition to the team vacating its wins in the Little League tournament, Jackie Robinson West manager Darold Butler has been suspended from Little League activity and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly has been removed from his position.

Janes explained that he wasn't targeting Jackie Robinson West.

"It would be unfair to make an unfounded allegation," Janes said. "If all you've got is rumors, you should keep that to yourself. But when there's those things and you did a little bit deeper and you find driver's registration, voter's registration associated with zip codes well outside their boundaries, now I have reason and fact-based reason to bring it forward.

"So why now? That's the first time I'm aware of that there's actual factual information that supported any suspicions you might have had."

Janes added he can handle the criticism he's received. Some believe he's needlessly brought a sad ending to a joyful story and others contend he's mad because his team was blown out by Jackie Robinson West in the postseason by nearly 40 runs.

"I'm comfortable with it," Janes said.

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