With the recent addition of Phoenixville (Pa.) Little League’s Mike Piazza to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, there are now 21 former Little Leaguers® to achieve the game’s highest honor. Here’s the full list, in order of induction, with bios courtesy of baseballhall.org:
Carl Yastrzemski (Class of 1989)
Yastrzemski spent his entire 23-year career in Boston, where he was an 18-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove Award winner. In 1967, he won the American League Triple Crown, becoming just the 16th player to lead his respective league in batting average, home runs and RBIs. Yastrzemski led the league in hitting three times during his career and hit for the cycle once, on May 14, 1965.
Jim Palmer (1990)
A six-time all-star, Palmer was an excellent postseason pitcher who pitched in six MLB World Series and won three rings, going 8-3, 2.61 between the World Series and the ALCS. When Palmer beat the Phillies in Game 3 of the 1983 World Series, he became the first pitcher in major league history to win a World Series game in three different decades. He also threw a no-hitter against Oakland in 1969 and, remarkably, never surrendered a grand slam in his entire career.
Tom Seaver (1992)
From 1967-1977, “The Franchise” was selected to 10 All-Star teams, lead the league in strikeouts five times, put together five 20 win seasons, threw five one-hitters and won three Cy Young Awards. After his playing career, he was inducted into Little League’s Hall of Excellence.
Rollie Fingers (1992)
The 1981 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner spent 17 years in the big leagues with the Athletics, Padres and Brewers. He set the record for career saves – since broken – with 341. The handlebar mustache was first grown in 1972 because a promotion dreamed up by A’s owner Charlie O. Finley offered him a $300 bonus, but it soon became his trademark.
Steve Carlton (1994)
In 14-plus seasons with the Phillies, Carlton led the league in wins four times, winning 20 or more games four times. The 10-time All-Star would go on to win three more Cy Young Awards and a Gold Glove in 1981. On Sept. 24, 1983, he became just the 16th pitcher to win 300 games. He finished his career with 329 wins – second to only Warren Spahn among lefties – and 4,134 strikeouts.
Mike Schmidt (1995)
Home runs were Schmidt’s calling card at the plate. He led the National League in homers eight times during his career and his 48 home runs in 1980 set the Major League record for a third baseman, which he held for 27 years until Alex Rodriguez broke it. On April 18, 1987, Schmidt became the 14th member of the 500 home run club and finished his career with 548. After his playing career, he was inducted into Little League’s Hall of Excellence.
Don Sutton (1998)
While Sutton never turned in a spectacular season and never won a Cy Young award, he was the picture of consistency. He won at least 11 games and had 100 strikeouts in 21 seasons. His best season came in 1972 when he went 19-9 and threw nine shutouts. He led the NL with a 0.913 WHIP and made his first All-Star game.
George Brett (1999)
Brett retired after 21 seasons with the Kansas City Royals as one of only four players with 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a .300 batting average.
Nolan Ryan (1999)
Ryan’s career spanned four decades and when all was said and done, he retired with 324 wins and a major league-record 5,714 strikeouts. After his playing career, he was inducted into Little League’s Hall of Excellence.
Robin Yount (1999)
The durable Yount averaged better than 142 games per season over 20 years, and his career totals continued to mount into his 30s. He was the 17th player – and the third-youngest – to achieve 3,000 career hits, and still holds the Brewers’ franchise records for games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, total bases, and walks.
Gary Carter (2003)
He had a career .262 batting average, belted 324 home runs and knocked in 1,225 runs to earn four Silver Sluggers. A three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Carter set a record for fewest past balls in 1978 and paced all National League catchers in total chances (1977-82), putouts (1977-80, 1982), assists (1977, 1979-80, 1982) and double plays (1978-79, 1983).
Wade Boggs (2005)
A 12-time All-Star third baseman, Boggs ended his 18-year (1982-99) major league career with 3,010 hits, a .328 batting average and a .415 on-base percentage. In his 2,432 career games, Boggs reached base safely in 80 percent of them.
Cal Ripken, Jr. (2007)
A 19-time All-Star and two-time American League Most Valuable Player, Cal Ripken redefined the shortstop position. Ripken ushered in an era of superstar shortstops that could not only handle the rigors of the position defensively, but regularly hit 20-30 home runs and bat .300. On May 30, 1982, Ripken began “the streak”— the longest stretch of consecutive games played by anyone in baseball history (2,632), and in the process earned the moniker “Iron Man.” After his playing career, he was inducted into Little League’s Hall of Excellence.
Roberto Alomar (2011)
In 17 major league seasons, Alomar tallied 2,724 hits, 210 home runs, 1,134 RBI, a .300 batting average and .984 fielding percentage. He made 12 consecutive All-Star appearances.
Bobby Cox (2014)
In an amazing run, Cox, the one-time infielder, would skipper big league teams for three decades, accumulating more than 2,500 victories by the time he retired after the 2010 season. But his greatest accomplishments came during his second stint with the Atlanta Braves, when he led the franchise to 14 straight division crowns and a World Series title.
Tom Glavin (2014)
Glavine’s career numbers: 305-203 with a 3.54 ERA and 2,607 strikeouts. He was named to 10 All-Star games, earned Cy Young Award votes in six seasons and won four Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher. His 682 games started ranks 12th all-time.
Frank Thomas, Jr. (2014)
“The Big Hurt” finished his baseball career with 521 home runs (18th all-time) with five seasons with at least 40 home runs; 1,704 RBI (22nd all-time), a .301 career batting average with a .419 on-base percentage (20th all-time), including four seasons where he led the league in OBP; 1,667 walks (10th all-time) with four league-leading seasons in bases on balls; five All-Star Game selections; four Silver Slugger Awards; and nine Top 10 finishes in the AL MVP voting, including his back-to-back wins in 1993 and 1994.
Joe Torre (2014)
He finished his 29 seasons as a manager with a record of 2,326-1,997, good for a .538 career winning percentage. Torre’s four World Series titles rank tied for fourth all time behind Joe McCarthy (7), Casey Stengel(7) and Connie Mack (5) and tied with Walter Alston. As a player, Torre was a nine-time All-Star and the 1971 National League Most Valuable Player who totaled 2,342 hits in 18 big league seasons.
Greg Maddux (2014)
Maddux retired following the 2008 season with 355 wins and only 227 losses – a .610 winning percentage. His victory total is the eighth-best of all-time, and his innings pitched total of 5,008.1 ranks 13th. In 23 big league seasons, Maddux spent only 15 days on the disabled list.
Randy Johnson (2015)
In 22 seasons, Johnson led his league in strikeouts nine times, earned four ERA titles and recorded 100 complete games to go along with 37 shutouts. He was named to 10 All-Star Games, and only four left-handed pitchers have ever won more games. His 4,875 strikeouts rank No. 2 all-time, and his 10.61 strikeouts per nine innings rank first all-time. Johnson owns six of the 33 300-strikeout seasons in the history of the game. Five of the top 11 single-season strikeout seasons belong to the pitcher known as the Big Unit.
Mike Piazza (2016)
Piazza drove in 1,335 runs – fourth among catchers all-time behind Yogi Berra, Ted Simmons and Johnny Bench – and posted a .308 career batting average. He was named to 12 All-Star Games (winning the 1996 All-Star Game MVP), captured 10 Silver Slugger Awards at catcher and finished in the top five of the NL MVP voting four times.