Pieces of Our Past: April Week 4
Little League Graduate, Veteran Major Leaguer Gary Sheffield Tallies Career Home Run 500
‘Sheff’ Keeps Serving Up Milestones
Gary Sheffield, a Little League graduate from Tampa, Fla., who played in the 1980 Little League Baseball World Series, recently hit the 500th Major League home run.
The 20-year MLB veteran collected his milestone homer off of Mitch Stetter in the seventh inning of the Mets’ April 17 game with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The nine-time All-Star drove a 3-ball, 2-strike pitch an estimated 385 feet for his first hit and homer of the season. Mr. Sheffield, who was signed as a free agent earlier this year, has played for several Major League teams including the Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and most recently the Detroit Tigers.
Mr. Sheffield was 11 years old when he played for Belmont Heights Little League in the Little League Baseball World Series. His team represented the United States in the World Championship Game, falling, 4-3, to Long Kuong Little League of Chinese Taipei. Mr. Sheffield led his team to the Little League Baseball World Series with a .600 batting average.
On display at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum is the jersey worn by Mr. Sheffield during his Little League Baseball World Series appearance. It is on display in the museum’s World Series Room.
Last week’s accomplishment is the third time in 12 years that Mr. Sheffield achieved Little League graduate firsts.
Although there have been many Little League graduates that have reached the Major League level, Mr. Sheffield was one of only 25 Little League Baseball World Series participants who had reached the big leagues.
There has been just two occasions when former Little League Baseball World Series participants have faced each other at the Major League level. In each instance, Mr. Sheffield was at the plate.
In 2003, when he played for the Atlanta Braves, Mr. Sheffield stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning of the National League Division Series game against Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Dave Veres, who played for the Madrid (Spain) Little League in the 1978 Little League Baseball World Series.
Mr. Veres played for a team comprised of American children who were dependents of military personnel at Torrejon Air Base.
The only other time two Little League Baseball World Series participants faced off was in the 1997 National League Divisional Playoff Series, when Mr. Sheffield played for the Florida Marlins and Wilson Alvarez pitched for the San Francisco Giants. As a 12-year-old, Wilson Alvarez played for Coquivacoa Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela, in the 1982 Little League Baseball World Series.
The Museum is located at 525 Route 15 Highway, just south of Williamsport, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and by group appointment from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Its summer season begins after Memorial Day and the Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through June 31. From July 1 through Labor Day, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The facility is accessible to the disabled.
Rates are $5 for adults; $3 for those 62 and older; $1.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 13. There is no fee for children 4 or younger. Group rates and tours are available. The Museum also offers birthday parties and after-hours facility rentals.
The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.
For more information, call the museum at (570) 326-3607; or visit http://www.LittleLeague.org/Learn_More/museum.htm.