Cumberland National Little League from Cumberland, Rhode Island, has been to the Little League Baseball® World Series twice in the past four years. Both of those teams have been led by manager David Belisle, whose inspirational post-game speeches at the 2014 Little League Baseball World Series have gone viral and prompted a nomination as the 2014 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.
Mr. Belisle's unwavering sportsmanship and ability to inspire not only his New England Region Championship team, but also millions of people around the world, was captured in a nomination essay written by SI's Seth Davis.
"If Belisle’s Little League coaching career really is over, then it is fitting that he should go out with a loss. His words would have had far less meaning had they been delivered in the wake of a victory. Belisle was right when he said his boys should feel proud of what they had done, but as it turns out, he was right about the rest of us, too. We like sportsmen," wrote Davis.
Mr. Belisle is one of 20 individuals nominated for this honor, which Sports Illusrated has bestowed since 1954. The recipients are some of the biggest names in sports, including Little League graduates Drew Brees, Derek Jeter, Brett Favre, and Carl Yastrzemski. Fittingly, in 1957, Stan Musial was honored as Sportsman of the Year. Mr. Belisle, along with Mid-Atlantic Region Champions, Taney Little League's Mo'ne Davis and Little League graduate Joe Torre, will be honored at this year's Musial Awards in St. Louis, Mo., on November 22.
The Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year will be announced in early December.