Little League World Series 2010: Top 30 Little Leaguers Turned MLB Stars
The Little World Series officially begins on Friday with teams from all over the globe seeking Little League glory. Sixteen teams will descend on the hallowed ground of Little League baseball in Williamsport, Pennsylvania with the goal of hoisting the championship banner.
These teams are comprised of the best 11 and 12-year-old baseball players around the world, many of whom we may see again one day down the road in another uniform. If so, it would only continue a trend that has been around for decades--namely Little League World Series players turning into Major League Baseball players.
The pool of those going from the LLWS to the big leagues is shallower than one may expect, but never the less there are 20 players who can say they made the jump better than anyone.
30. Chin-Feng Chen
Chen was part of the Taiwan team that won the 1990 LLWS title before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999.
Chen recorded two hits in 22 at-bats with two RBI for the Dodgers between 2002 and 2005.m
29. Jim Barbieri
Barbieri was part of the 1954 Schenectedy, New York team that won the LLWS title. He signed with the Dodgers in 1960 but did not make his big league debut until 1966.
He played 39 games with the Dodgers, recording 23 hits in 82 at-bats with three RBI.
28. Keith Lampard
Lampard played in the LLWS in 1958 and was later selected in the second round of the 1965 draft by the Houston Astros.
Lampard's career last two seasons in 1969 and 1970. In 62 games, he went 20-for-84 with one home run and seven RBI.
27. Bill Connors
Connors was also part of the 1954 team from Schenectady that won the LLWS. Connors signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1961 before making his debut in 1966. He played two more seasons with the Mets in 1967 and 1968 before exiting the game with a 0-2 record and 7.53 ERA in 26 games.
26. Adam Loewen
Loewen played in the 1996 LLWS as part of Team Canada. He was later drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft. Loewen made his debut in 2006 but only hung around for parts of three seasons before returning to the minors in 2008 with an 8-8 record and 5.38 ERA.
He is now a position player in the Toronto Blue Jays system.
25. Guillermo Quiroz
Quiroz was part of the Venezuelan team that won the 1994 LLWS before he was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998.
Quiroz spent parts of six seasons with three teams, hitting .206 with two home runs and 28 RBI before returning to the minors following the 2009 season in the Mariners organization.
24. Marc Pisciotta
Pisciotta was part of the 1983 LLWS title team from Marietta, Georgia. Pisciotta was later drafted by the PIttsburgh Pirates in the 19th round of the 1991 draft. The right-hander made his big league debut with the Cubs in 1997.
He pitched two years with the Cubs and a third with the Royals before exiting baseball with a career 4-5 record, 4.24 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 80.2 innings pitched.
23. Jim Pankovits
Pankovits was a member of the 1968 Richmond team that fell in the championship game to Japan. Pankovits went on to play five season with the Astros from 1984 to 1988 and one season with the Boston Red Sox in 1990. He retired with a career .250 average, nine home runs and 55 RBI.
22. Hector Torres
Torres played in the 1958 LLWS for Monterrey, Mexico which was the first international team to win the championship.
Torres signed with the San Francisco Giants in 1962. He played nine seasons with five teams before retiring in 1977 with a career .216 average, 18 home runs and 115 RBI.
21. Bobby Mitchell
Mitchell played in the 1967 LLWS for Norristown, Pennsylvania before he was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1965.
Mitchell made his big league debut in 1970 with the Yankees before playing four years with the Brewers prior to leaving baseball in 1975 with a .235 career average, 21 home runs and 91 RBI.
20. Yusmeiro Petit
Petit played for his home country of Venezuela in the 1994 LLWS before he was signed by the New York Mets in 2001.
Since then, Petit has bounced around minor league systems thought he pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues from 2006-2009. He has a career record of 10-20 with a 5.57 ERA in 229.1 innings. He is currently in the Mariners organization.
19. Carl Taylor
Taylor played in the 1954 LLWS as a member of his Sarasota, Florida team. Taylor went on to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1962.
Taylor played six seasons, recording a .266 career average with 10 home runs and 115 RBI.
18. Sean Burroughs
Burroughs is one of the most decorated LLWS players on this list. As a member of the West Region team, Burroughs was part of the Long Beach, California team that won back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993.
Burroughs was later selected by the Padres as the ninth overall pick in the 1998 amateur draft. Unfortunately, Burroughs big league career never panned out. He played five seasons in the big leagues (four with San Diego, one with Tampa Bay) and finished a career .280 hitter with 11 home runs and 134 RBI before exiting the game in 2007 after a year in Triple-A.
17. Larvell Blanks
Blanks played in the 1962 LLWS for his hometown of Del Rio, Texas before he was drafted in the third round of the 1969 draft by the Atlanta Braves.
Blanks played nine seasons in the big leagues before retiring in 1980 with a .253 career average, 20 home runs and 172 RBI.
16. Lloyd McClendon
McClendon appeared in the 1971 LLWS as a member of the Gary, Indiana team that finished runner-up to Taiwan.
McClendon was later drafted by the Mets in the eighth round of the 1980 draft. He did not make his big league debut until 1987 before playing eight seasons between the Reds, Cubs and Pirates. He retired in 1994 with a career .244 average, 35 home runs, 154 RBI
15. Lastings Milledge
Milledge played in the 1997 LLWS as a member of the Southeast Region team. Six years later, Milledge was drafted by the New York Mets and developed into one of the system's best talents before becoming something of a journeyman and landing on his feet in Pittsburgh.
In five seasons so far, Milledge owns a career .268 batting average with 32 home runs, 166 RBI and 40 stolen bases
14. Ken Hubbs
Hubbs played in the 1954 LLWS as a part of the Colton, California team that finished as the runner-up. Hubbs was later signed by the Cubs in 1959 before winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award and a Gold Glove in 1962 before he was killed in an air traffic accident in early 1964.
13. Ed Vosberg
Vosberg was a member of the 1973 West Regional team from Tucson, Arizona which reached the championship game before losing to Taiwan.
Vosberg was later drafted by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 1983 amateur draft after appearing in the College World Series at the University of Arizona.
Vosberg, who mainly served as a left-handed specialist, pitched 10 years in the big leagues for eight different teams. He retired in 2002 with a 10-15 record, 4.32 ERA and 13 saves in 233.1 innings and showed that yes one can make a lengthy career in the big leagues by simply throwing left-handed.
12. Charlie Hayes
Hayes played 14 years in the big leagues, but before that played for the Southeast Region team out of Mississippi in 1977.
Hayes was later selected in the fourth round of the 1983 amateur draft by the San Francisco Giants. He went on to play for seven teams, tallying a career average of .262 with 144 home runs and 740 RBI. However, he is most remembered for grabbing the final out of the 1996 World Series for the Yankees.
11. Dave Veres
Veres played in the 1978 LLWS as a member of the Northwest team for Gresham, Oregon before being drafted by the Athletics in the fourth round of the 1986 draft.
Veres made his big league debut in 1994 and pitched 10 seasons in the big leagues. He retired in 2003 with a 36-35 record, 3.44 ERA and 95 saves in 694 innings pitched.
10. Wilson Alvarez
The long-time big league left-hander played for his native Venezuela in 1982 prior to his signing a contract with the Texas Rangers as a 16-year-old in 1986.
Alvarez pitched 14 seasons in the big leagues before retiring in 2005 with a career record of 102-92, a 3.96 ERA and 1,330 strikeouts. The most notable part was in the early 1990s when he pitched six season for the Chicago White Sox. In 1993, he went 15-8 with a 2.95 ERA 207.2 innings.
9. Dan Wilson
Wilson played in the 1981 LLWS as a member of the Midwest Region team from Barrington, Illinois.
Wilson went on to become the seventh overall pick in the 1990 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds. After two years in Cincinnati, Wilson moved on to Seattle where he remained the main catcher for the next 12 years.
He retired in 2005 with a .262 career batting average, 88 home runs and 519 RBI. He made his only All-Star Game appearance in 1996 when he hit .285 with 18 home runs and 85 RBI.
8. Jason Marquis
Marquis played for the 1991 Mid-Atlantic Region team from Staten Island, New York in the 1991 LLWS.
In 1996, the Braves made him the 35th overall pick in the amateur draft. Marquis has since spent 11 seasons in the big league, earning a 94-88 career record, 4.59 ERA and 875 strikeouts. Marquis was on the 2006 World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals.
Bell is one of the few players who made two appearances at the LLWS. He played for the Southeast Region team in 1980 and 1981, six years before he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the second round of the 1987 amateur draft.
Bell, who made his big league debut in 1991 and retired in 2001, hit .276 with 131 home runs and 668 RBI in his career. Most notably, Bell was a member of the Astros' "Killer Bs" in the mid-to-late 1990s. His best season came in 1998 when he hit .314 with 22 home runs and 108 RBI.
6. Jason Bay
The current Mets left fielder played for Canada in the 1990 LLWS, a decade before he was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 22nd round of the amateur draft.
Bay made his big league debut in 2003 and has since accumulated a career .278 batting average, 191 home runs, 657 RBI, three All-Star appearances and was the 2004 National League Rookie of the Year.
5. Jason Varitek
Varitek appeared in the 1984 LLWS as a member of the Southeast Region team from Altamonte Springs, Florida which lost in the championship game to South Korea.
Varitek was later drafted by the Seattle Mariners with the 14th overall pick in the 1994 amateur draft.
Varitek, who made his big league debut in 1997, has gone on to .259 in his career with 182 home runs, 721 RBI, three All-Star game appearances and two World Series rings with the Boston Red Sox.
4. Rick Wise
Wise played in the 1958 LLWS for Portland, Oregon. He was later signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1963.
Wise made his big league debut 1964 and pitched 18 seasons in the big leagues with five different teams. He racked up a 188-181 career record 3.69 ERA, 1,647 strikeouts and two All-Star appearances before retiring following the 1982 season.
3. Carney Lansford
Lansford made his LLWS appearance in 1969 as a member of the West Region from Santa Clara, California which lost in the championship game to Taiwan which proceeded to win 10 of the next 12 LLWS titles.
Lansford was later drafted by the California Angels in the third round of the 1975 draft. Lansford spent three years with the Angels before moving on to Boston for two years and ultimately landing in Oakland where he spent the final 10 years of his career before retiring in 1992.
The long-time third baseman finished with a career .290 batting average, 151 home runs, 874 RBI, 224 stolen bases and was a member of the Athletics' 1990 World Series winning team.
2. Boog Powell
Powell played in the LLWS way back in 1954 for Key West, Florida. Powell went on to sign with the Baltimore Orioles in 1959 before embarking on a 17-year big league career that saw him hit .266 with 339 home runs, 1,187 RBI, four All-Star game appearances and the 1970 American League MVP award.
Powell hit .297 with 35 home runs, 114 RBI en route to the Orioles World Series title in 1970.
1. Gary Sheffield
Sheffield was a member of the 1980 Southeast Region team from Tampa, Florida that advanced to the championship game only to lose to Taiwan.
Sheffield later became the sixth overall pick in the 1986 amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. Sheffield played 21 seasons in the big leagues for seven teams, racking up a .292 career average with 509 home runs, 1,676 RBI, nine All-Star Game appearances and a ring with the 1997 Florida Marlins.
But the question remains, did Sheffield have his axe-wielding swing as an 11-year-old?