The Little League World Series helps make stars on a yearly basis, but few in the history of the tournament have had as big of a presence as Chad Lorkowski. Although the Grosse Pointe, Mich., star is 12 years old just like his teammates and opponents, he towers over them both in terms of height and talent.
According to Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press, Lorkowski stands 6'2" and weighs in at 200 pounds. While it's impossible not to notice him, he is actually drawing attention for something other than his height. Lorkowski has become an Internet sensation due to the silky smooth nickname that his teammates have bestowed upon him.
When Lorkowski came up to the plate during Grosse Pointe's Great Lakes semifinal against Ohio, an ESPN graphic showed that his nickname is "Swag Daddy." Lorkowski likely would have been the star of the Little League World Series regardless due to the fact that he sticks out above everyone else, but that nickname has only helped his exposure.
In addition to all of that, Lorkowski happens to be a fantastic baseball player as well. Lorkowski acts primarily as a starting pitcher for Grosse Pointe, but the big man is an excellent hitter as well. According to Jameson Fleming of CBSSports.com, Lorkowski struck out 10 hitters and hit two home runs to push his Michigan squad to the Little League World Series.
On Friday, he dominated on the mound again, per Chris Masse of Williamsport Sun-Gazette:
According to Seidel, Lorkowski's fastball clocks in anywhere from the low-to-mid 70s, which is far from the hardest in the tournament. Lorkowski also sports a knee-buckling curveball that he hasn't had to use yet, though. His father, Mark, believes that Chad's hook could be a difference-maker for Grosse Pointe moving forward.
I can’t wait until the world sees his curve. His curve is unbelievable. It drops out of nowhere. But he hasn't had to use it because nobody has been able to hit him.
In this video introducing the Grosse Pointe players, Lorkowski names Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera as his favorite Major League Baseball player.
Perhaps that shouldn't come as a big surprise seeing as Lorkowski is a young ball player from Michigan, but he is coincidentally the Miguel Cabrera of the Little League World Series thus far. Like the reigning American League Triple Crown winner and MVP, Lorkowski seemingly hits the ball hard every time.
Also, while Lorkowski isn't quite as big as the 6'4", 240-pound Cabrera, it is essentially a guarantee that he will surpass him at some point. Cabrera is one of the most physically imposing players in baseball, but in terms of scale, Lorkowski blows him away as he is so much bigger than anyone else he will be competing against.
The most famous player in Little League World Series history at this point is likely Danny Almonte, but he made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Almonte was much bigger than his opponents as well back in 2001 when he was a dominant force for the Bronx, N.Y., team that made it to the United States Championship Game.
Almonte pitched a perfect game during the Little League World Series, but it was later found that his age information was falsified, and that he was actually 14 years old. This led to Almonte and his team being disgraced. As much as the Little League World Series would like to move away from that situation, fans will always remember it.
The only way to make it insignificant is for other players and teams to step up. If Lorkowski continues to play like he has and manages to lead Grosse Pointe on a magical run through the tournament, he could very well become the face of the Little League World Series.
Even if Grosse Pointe falls short of its ultimate goal, though, Lorkowski has made waves, and sports fans will be interested to see how Swag Daddy progresses in the coming years.
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