MLB Sports

15 sports activities stars who performed within the Little League World Collection earlier than they turned well-known


Yearly, gamers from internationally participate within the Little League World Collection.

After the time within the highlight, the gamers usually go in various instructions. Some proceed to play baseball for a very long time. Others discover one other avenue by which they channel their ardour, usually being one other sport. 

Over time, there have been some fairly well-known names to emerge again on main sports activities’ phases after getting the prospect to compete within the Little League World Collection. These have included gamers that continued on to achieve Main League Baseball, however others as effectively that turned huge names within the NHL, NASCAR, NFL and extra.

Sporting Information is looking at 15 former Little League World Collection gamers, who discovered themselves once more in a outstanding place within the sports activities world. 

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Jason Bay

A local of Path, British Columbia, Bay and the Path Little League crew reached the 1990 Little League World Collection. That crew superior previous Mexico within the quarterfinals, however fell to eventual champion Taiwan within the semifinals. The Canadian crew received the comfort sport in opposition to California 5-4. 

Bay loved a standout MLB profession, mainly for his time with the Pirates, with whom he was a two-time All-Star and 2004 Rookie of the Yr winner. He made a 3rd All-Star look in 2009 with the Purple Sox and completed his 11-year MLB profession with a slash line of .266/.360/.481, 222 house runs and 95 stolen bases. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Corridor of Fame in 2019. 

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Cody Bellinger

Earlier than he was a World Collection-winning star, Bellinger helped the Chandler Nationwide Little League crew signify Arizona to a Little League World Collection look in 2007. His crew reached the semifinals, the place it fell to Georgia, which went on to win the Little League World Collection that yr. 

Ten years later, Bellinger began his MLB profession with a splash. He made his first All-Star crew and was named the NL Rookie of the Yr  The next yr, he was the NLCS MVP and a yr after that, he took house the NL MVP honors. He turned a World Collection Champion in 2020. His 2021 marketing campaign has left quite a bit to be desired, however the 26-year-old has nonetheless established himself as one of many sport’s most feared bats.

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Matt Cassel

Cassel might need made his identify in soccer, however in 1994, he practically made historical past in baseball. As a part of the Northridge Metropolis Little League crew, Cassel helped the California-based crew attain the finals after beating Virginia 3-0. His crew fell 4-3 to Venezuela. 

Although Cassel was drafted by the Athletics in 2004, it was soccer that finally turned his focus. He was drafted by the Patriots within the seventh spherical of the 2005 NFL Draft and took middle stage because the starter in 2008 when Tom Brady went down with a knee damage and later, in a stint with Kansas Metropolis, was named to a Professional Bowler in 2010 after he threw 27 touchdowns to solely seven interceptions and guided the Chiefs to a 10-5 document. He continued to bounce round in his NFL profession after he left the Chiefs following the 2012 season, spending time with 5 extra groups earlier than retiring after the 2018 season. 

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Michael Conforto

Conforto has lengthy been a baseball participant within the northwest. He first made a reputation for himself when he helped lead the Redmond Little League crew from Redmond, Washington, to the Northwest spot within the Little League World Collection. His crew was eradicated, however Conforto stayed within the space for some time, ultimately taking part in baseball for Oregon State, the place he reached the School World Collection in 2013. Two years later, he was taking part in within the World Collection for the Mets, turning into simply the third participant ever to play in all three World Collection.

The outfielder has continued to develop right into a star expertise for New York. He was named to the 2017 NL All-Star crew and hit 30 homers in a season for the primary time in his profession throughout the 2019 marketing campaign, when he launched 33. Although the 2020 season was shortened, it was his greatest yr by price stats as he posted a career-high 154 OPS+, .322 batting common and .412 on-base proportion, whereas his .515 slugging proportion was the second-best in his profession. It has been a down yr on the plate for the 28-year-old, however he stays a key cog sooner or later for the Mets.

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Austin Dillon

Earlier than Dillon was driving vehicles, he was driving up in a single from North Carolina to Pennsylvania for the Little League World Collection. Dillon was part of the Southwest Forsyth Little League crew in Clemmons, North Carolina, that represented the Southeast within the match. His crew didn’t advance previous pool play, however he took the teachings from that crew into serving to him in his skilled NASCAR profession. 

And that driving profession has been a profitable one. He received the 2011 NASCAR Tenting World Truck Collection and the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Collection. He has received three races within the NASCAR Cup Collection over his profession with 55 prime 10 finishes and 6 pole positions. As issues stand within the present Cup Collection standings, he’s the seventeenth ranked driver within the projected playoff, per NASCAR .

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Chris Drury

Drury has had fairly the journey in sports activities, however it began in 1989 within the Little League World Collection. He guided the Trumbull Little League crew from Trumbull, Connecticut, to the finals of the Little League World Collection, the place he held Chinese language Taipei to only two runs on 5 hits — whereas driving in a pair of runs — to assist his crew win the championship. 

Regardless of the success in baseball, it was hockey that turned Drury’s calling. He earned the Calder Trophy within the NHL, received a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche, turned a captain of the Sabres and the Rangers and twice earned Olympic silver medals. His taking part in days got here to an finish in 2011, however he shifted his focus to the entrance workplace as he moved up the ladder with the Rangers, starting from director of participant growth all the way in which as much as his latest promotion in Could to turning into president and basic supervisor of the crew. 

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Todd Frazier

There aren’t many former gamers which can be fairly as well-known from their days within the Little League World Collection as well-known as Frazier. The phenom of the 1998 Toms River East American Little League All-Star Crew, Frazier led the crew to the finals the place they confronted off in opposition to the Far East. In that sport, he went 4-for-4 with a house run and picked up a win because the crew claimed the title. A photograph of him standing subsequent to Derek Jeter has since grow to be a staple of any broadcast the place Frazier comes up. 

Frazier didn’t have practically as a lot notoriety as he labored his approach up by the minors, however he made a direct impression with the Reds. He completed third within the 2012 NL Rookie of the Yr voting, was named an All-Star for the primary time in 2014 and once more in 2015, in a season that additionally noticed him win the Residence Run Derby in entrance of the hometown Cincinnati crowd. Frazier belted 40 house runs for the primary time in a season in 2016 with the White Sox. This yr, he earned a silver medal for the U.S. Olympic Crew in Tokyo because the USA Baseball crew fell to Japan 2-0.

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Dwight Gooden

Probably the most attention-grabbing entries on this record, Gooden was a serious piece of the 1973 Belmont Heights Little League crew that reached the world metropolis and finally positioned third. There was just one drawback: Gooden wasn’t on the crew that made it that far. Gooden was solely 9 years outdated on the time, and the foundations have been that he needed to be a minimum of 10. So regardless of pitching the crew to the qualifying spot, he didn’t get to compete on the massive stage.

However Gooden had loads of possibilities to shine on a good larger stage. Gooden was taken fifth total by the Mets in 1982 and rapidly rose to stardom. He debuted in 1984 and was named an All-Star in his first season for the primary of what can be 4 straight seasons named to the NL All-Star crew, and earned the Rookie of the Yr. The next yr, he received the pitching Triple Crown and was named the Cy Younger Award winner. He picked up the primary of three World Collection championships the next yr when the Mets beat the Purple Sox, and he received two extra with the Yankees in 1996 and 2000. Gooden completed his profession with a 3.51 ERA and a couple of,293 strikeouts in 2,800.2 innings.

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Lance Lynn

Earlier than he was the front-runner for the AL Cy Younger Award, Lynn was a key a part of the 1999 Central Brownsburg Little League crew. Lynn and his crew got here away because the champions of the central area, however finally fell in pool play as Toms River — this time sans Frazier — reached the semifinal. 

However Lynn has since had an opportunity so as to add a championship to his athletic resume. In his first season within the majors, he reached the World Collection with the Cardinals and added — so far — his lone ring. The next yr he was named an All-Star for the primary time. He has since bounced round to the Twins, Yankees and Rangers earlier than he has settled in with the White Sox in what has been his greatest season so far. He at present has a 2.26 ERA and a 10-3 document over 119.2 innings of labor.

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Boog Powell

Probably the most feared sluggers in Orioles’ historical past, Powell bought his first style of baseball success taking part in for the Lakeland Little League crew in Lakeland, Florida, again in 1954. That crew reached the Little League World Collection and superior to the quarterfinals, however was shut down by a stout New York crew. 

Powell had his revenge, nevertheless. In 1966, Powell, then of the Orioles, confronted off in opposition to the Dodgers and Jim Barbieri, who was a member of the Schenectady, New York, crew, and the O’s picked up the four-game sweep to win the World Collection. That was the primary of two World Collection wins for Powell, who additionally claimed the 1970 championship with Baltimore in the identical marketing campaign by which he was named the AL MVP. A four-time All-Star, Powell completed his profession with 339 house runs and a .266/.361/.462 slash line and was named to the Orioles Corridor of Fame.

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Gary Sheffield

Earlier than Sheffield was a feared slugger in Miami, he was a feared hitter for the Belmont Heights Little League crew. The group, representing Florida within the 1980 Little League World Collection, made the run by the U.S. aspect of the bracket to achieve the ultimate and tackle Taiwan. Regardless of Sheffield setting a then-record for doubles within the match with 4, Florida fell within the remaining to Taiwan in a 4-3 loss. 

Sheffield went on to grow to be one of many largest bats in MLB for a few years as he completed his profession with 467 doubles and 509 house runs to accompany a .292/.393/.514 slash line. Sheffield was named an All-Star 9 instances in his profession, he was named a Silver Slugger 5 instances and he received a World Collection with the Marlins in 1997. Connections to BALCO and PEDs, in addition to his poor protection, stay a few of the fundamental causes he has not been inducted into the Baseball Corridor of Fame, however he’ll return to the poll once more subsequent yr after he obtained 40.6 % of the vote in 2021. 

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Brian Sipe

Earlier than Sipe turned a legend in Cleveland, he was a part of a history-making Little League crew in El Cajon, California. He and the 1961 Northern Little League crew ran by the Little League Wrold Collection, profitable a pair of video games in further innings earlier than defeating Texas within the remaining to assert the championship.

It was the gridiron that finally referred to as essentially the most to Sipe. Drafted within the thirteenth spherical of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Browns, he finally turned the crew’s starter at quarterback in 1976 and began to show the crew round, ultimately taking the crew to the playoffs in 1980 for the primary time since 1972. Throughout that season, he was named NFL MVP after he accomplished 30 landing passes with 4,132 passing yards. He’s nonetheless the franchise’s chief in passing yards (23,713), passing touchdowns (154) and quarterback wins (57). 

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Pierre Turgeon

Turgeon might need gained some consideration in his youth as a part of the “Punch-up in Piestany” between Canada and the united states, however baseball gave him his first shot at stardom. As a member of the Rotary Little League in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, Turgeon was a part of Canada’s crew within the 1982 Little League World Collection that reached the semifinals, however finally fell to Taiwan. He performed alongside fellow future NHLer Stephane Matteau on the crew.

5 years later, Turgeon was drafted first total by the Sabres to kick off what can be a standout NHL profession. He was named to 5 All-Star groups and obtained the 1993 Woman Byng Memorial Trophy. A prolific goal-scorer, he scored a career-high 58 targets in 1993 and 3 times scored a minimum of 40 targets in a season. He completed his taking part in profession with 515 targets and 812 assists and continues to be the NHL participant with essentially the most targets to not be within the Hockey Corridor of Fame.

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Jason Varitek

Varitek’s baseball profession has usually discovered him taking part in for championships. That began in 1984 when he and the Altamonte Springs Nationwide Little League crew made a run to the Little League World Collection the place they reached the ultimate, however fell 6-2 within the sport. Ten years later, he was a member of Georgia Tech, which was making its first-ever School World Collection look. The crew made a run to the ultimate, however misplaced 13-5 within the remaining to Oklahoma.

However Varitek will most frequently be related for serving to break the Curse of the Bambino when he was the catcher for the 2004 Purple Sox that received the World Collection. He turned the second of three gamers ever to play in every of the three completely different World Collection, coming after Ed Vosberg reached all three in his baseball profession. Varitek received a second World Collection in 2007 and have become an icon in Boston as he completed his profession with three All-Star nods, a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and induction into the crew Corridor of Fame. He tallied 193 house runs and a .256/.341/.435 slash line in his profession.

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Krissy Wendell-Pohl

Earlier than Krissy Wendell-Pohl turned among the finest ladies’s hockey gamers in U.S. historical past, she was serving to the Brooklyn Middle Little League from Minnesota attain the Little League World Collection in 1994. Wendell-Pohl was the primary lady ever to play catcher within the collection and he or she batted fifth for the crew that completed third within the American bracket. 

Wendell-Pohl would grow to be much more well-known for her hockey success, nevertheless. Taking part in for Minnesota, she racked up 104 profession factors (third-most all-time) as she was each certainly one of faculty hockey’s most feared offensive facilitators with 43 targets (tied for seventh-most all-time) and 61 assists (third-most all-time). To this present day, her seven short-handed targets are tied for essentially the most in NCAA historical past. She performed for 2 Olympic groups and received a silver in 2002 and a bronze in 2006. Her hockey profession earned her a 2019 induction into the U.S. Hockey Corridor of Fame.


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