Little League Tips

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Little Leaguers Turned MLB Pros

They say Little League is just for fun. They say you can’t determine who will make it in the big leagues by looking at prospects when they are barely able to hold a bat properly. That’s true in a lot of cases. But sometimes the writing is on the wall. Here are three major league baseball players who played in the Little League World Series:

Colby Rasmus

Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus is not new to big game pressure. In 1999, he and his Phenix City, AL little league team played in the Little League World Series. They beat Toms River, NJ East American Little League to win the United States Championship. They ended up losing the championship game to Hirakata Little League from Osaka, Japan. Rasmus went 5-for-10 with a home run, three runs scored and three RBIs.

Jurickson Profar

Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar helped the Pabao Little League to win their first championship for the island of Curacao. Profar pitched to a 2-0 record with one save in 12.1 innings, striking out 19 batters. He didn’t stop being dynamic when he made it to the major leagues. He hit a homer his first time at bat.

Lance Lynn

Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn played in the Little League World Series with his Brownsburg, IN team in 1999. He pitched for eight innings and had 7 at bats. The experience taught him well. Lynn went on to win the 2011 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Maybe you can tell who will take off in the world of baseball as early as little league, maybe you can’t. But one thing’s for sure, playing hard and practicing helps you reach your goals.

   

Standout Teams of Little League Baseball

The drama in Little League baseball often rivals that of the Major Leagues with angry coaches, fiery umpires, and parents who take to the field to start brawls with the opposing team. Under pressure to succeed, the determined teenage players of today's Little League teams display incredible athleticism and maturity.

One of the best teams to grace the game includes the Monterrey Mexico Industrial League team of 1957 and 1958. Mexico sent the first international team ever to score back-to-back Little League World Series championships. In 1957, notable player Angel Macias pitched the only perfect game ever seen in the championship game of the World Series.

The Taiwanese teams of the early 1970s also dominated the game with multiple wins at the World Series. The 1973 team from Tainan, Taiwan allowed zero runs from opponents in their three games of the championship. No other team in Little League history has matched this feat.

Today's heavy-hitters in the League would include players of Japan. This small yet mighty island nation has managed to qualify for nine championship games since 2000 and won the title in 2001, 2003, 2010, 2012, and 2013. One Japanese team, the Musashi Fuchu team out of Tokyo, has appeared three times in the final game.

Likewise, residents of California have cause to take pride in their teams as the state has sent players to the World Series four times in the last decade. A team from The Golden State has also won five times since the introduction of the championships in 1947. Players from California won the World Series three years in a row from 1961 to 1963.

   

All About the Little League World Series

Played each year in August, the Little League World Series is a tournament for young ball players between the ages of 11 and 13. The tournament allows teens from all over the world to compete in baseball and softball games in Pennsylvania.

First played in 1947 the tournament initially featured a full slate of US teams; however, the worldwide growth and popularity of baseball soon led organizers to include international teams. Taiwan holds the title of the country with the most wins. Japan's team has reached the final game in each of the last four years.

Controversy Erupts in the 1970s

After the success of international teams at the series in the late 1960s and early 1970s, organizers decided to ban all non-US teams. Considerable uproar over the 1975 ban led to a reversal of the decision just a year later.

The Infamous 1992 World Series

Further controversy would emerge during the 1992 tournament, when the Zamboanaga City team from the Philippines steamrolled the competition and emerged as victors under suspicious circumstances.

Investigations revealed the team brought ineligible players from other districts to play at the 1992 World Series. Additionally, journalists investigating the team found that some players on the team were as old as 15. The revelations led Little League organizers to strip Zamboanaga City of the title.

Major League Players Start Young

Several Major League Baseball (MLB) players began their careers as Little League players and many teens dream of following in the footsteps of these MLB players:


  • Infielder Todd Frazier - 1998 World Series

  • Pitcher Lance Lynn - 1999 World Series

  • Out-fielder Lastings Milledge - 1997 World Series

Worldwide Popularity Grows

Capturing the hearts and minds of parents and players across the globe, the tournament also receives attention from major television stations. ESPN broadcasts the tournament each year and several regional qualifying games also find their way to broadcast television.

   

Finding a Great Little League Team For Your Tyke

Spring has come around and there is sunshine, warm breezes, and the smell of freshly cut grass. It's the signifier of our returning to the outdoors. This time of year is also when the little league sports start up their yearly season.

Now it is easier than ever to find the best little leagues for your kids and you can do it, quite easily, from your computer at home.

When I was growing up we had to resort to word of mouth suggestions and the newspaper in order to find little leagues that were accepting new children. Now all you need is a computer and the internet. By going online and finding the website of your local park district you will be able to find a whole host of little leagues, their schedules, and how much it costs to get your child involved with the game.

Being that this is something your child will be spending a lot of time doing, it is worth making the extra effort to research the pros and cons of the different leagues. Some are more competitive than others and some have a higher time and money commitment.

Finding a little league for your son or daughter can be a great way to get them involved in team activities. It is also a great way to meet new friends and to stay healthy. The search for a great league is easier than ever!

   
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Byron White