Since its introduction in 1947, the Little League World Series has introduced the world to some of the best little league baseball players, and continues to do so to this day. As these young stars line-up at their first and possibly only chance at a World Series Championship, the best of the best stand out, as they lead their teams to that little league promised land. That’s right, the LLWS Tournament, in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
For a very few of these great young players it is just the beginning of a promising career in professional sports, as the head towards a chance to play in the Major Leagues. Even fewer players have the heart and the talent to achieve success at this level, and the ones that do, we call the stars of the sport. Well here are a few of the little leaguer’s that have gone on to become stars in Major League Baseball.
5 Little League World Series Players that Became MLB Stars
Varitek has had a very successful career in baseball, when his first taste for a championship came at the 1984 Little League World Series, as part of the National Little Team from Altamonte, Florida. They eventually lost the championship game to Seoul, South Korea 6-2, who repeated as LLWS Champions, the following year. His road for a championship didn’t stop there, as he played in the 1994 NCAA College World Series helping Georgia Tech to a Championship, and the Boston Red Sox to World Series Championships in 2004 and 2007. In his MLB career, Varitek has 182 homeruns, 721 RBI’s, and a .259 batting average. (As of 8/23/2010)
Sheffield burst onto the scene in the 1980 Little League World Series, helping his Belmont Heights Little League Team, from Tampa, Florida to the championship game. Belmont Heights eventually lost in the championship to Hua-Lien, Taiwan 4-3, but his success didn’t stop there. He went on to play 21 years, for eight different teams in the majors. During his long and productive career, he was nominated to 9 All-Star appearances, won 5 Silver Slugger Awards, was the 1992 MLB Batting Champ, and was part of the Florida Marlins 1997 World Champion team. He retired with a career batting average of .292, 2689 hits, 509 home runs, 1676 RBI’s, and 1636 runs in his career.
Bay took a pit stop at the 1990 Little League World Series as a part of the Trail Little League Team from British Columbia, before making it to the MLB spotlight in 2004, were he was named the National League Rookie of the Year. He continues to play in the majors for the New York Mets, and has a batting average of .278, with 191 home runs, and 657 RBI’s in his 6 year career. He has also been selected to 3 All-Star Teams, in 2005, 2006, and 2009. (As of 8/23/2010)
Bell was one of the few to get the opportunity to be a part in not one, but two Little league World Series Tournaments, as he played for Belmont Heights Little League Team, from Tampa, Florida in 1980 and 1981. In both tournaments his team finished as runners up, as they lost the 1980 LLWS to Hua-Lien, Taiwan 4-3, and the 1981 LLWS to Taichung, Taiwan 4-2. During the 1980 LLWS, he shared the spotlight with teammate Gary Sheffield, who also went on to play in the majors. After the two very tough loses in the LLWS championship games, Bell finally won a championship in 1992, when he helped the Toronto Blue Jays to a World Series Championship. During his 11 year career, Bell finished with a .276 batting average, 134 home runs, 668 RBI’s, and 170 stolen bases.
Marquis was part of the 1991 Little League World Series, were he played for the South Shore American Little League Team from Staten Island, NY. He went on to make his Major League debut in 2000 and hit the ground running from there. He won the National League Silver Slugger Award in 2005, was selected to the 2009 NL All-Star team, and helped the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series Championship in 2006. As of August 23, 2010, he has a 94-88 record, with a 4.59 ERA, and 875 strikeouts in his Major League career. He continues his career in the majors, playing for the Washington Nationals, as he continues to look for that second championship ring. (As of 8/23/2010)
Little League World Series History: 5 of the Greatest Championship Teams
2010 Little League World Series: The Qualifying Teams