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MLB’s Opening Day Rosters Feature Little League® Grads

The Major League Baseball season is underway, and with the warming thaw, longer days, and the call of “play ball!,” Little League® graduates continue to live their baseball dreams this MLB season.

And it’s not just the players. This season, Little League Baseball® World Series alums Lloyd McClendon (Seattle Mariners Manager; Anderson Little League, Gary, Ind.) and Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay Rays Manager; Northside Little League, Tampa, Fla.) are focused on the American League Pennant. It’s the first time two Little League World Series graduates are coaching in the Bigs at the same time. Former Hazleton (Pa.) Little Leaguer and first-year Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon has his sights set on bringing the South Siders their first World Series title since 1908.

On the field, plenty of Little League grads are primed for breakout years, while others are veterans gearing up for another World Series run.

Keep an eye on the box scores for rising National League stars like Atlanta Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman (North Sunrise Little League - Villa Park, Calif.); outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (Tajunga, Calif., Little League) of the Miami Marlins; and Houston Astros’ outfielder George Springer (Forestville, Conn. Little League). In the American League, third baseman Jonathan Schoop (Pabao Little League - Willemstad, Curacao) from the Baltimore Orioles and the Rasmus brothers (Colby-Toronto Blue Jays outfielder; and Cory-Anaheim Angels’ pitcher – Phenix City, Ala., National Little League) are expected to be big-time contributors this season.

Just like in Little League, starting pitching is at a premium in the MLB, and some stalwarts on the mound got their start on Little League fields. New York Yankees’ ace C.C. Sabathia (North Vallejo, Calif., Little League) and Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander (Tuckahoe, Va., Little League) both have Cy Young Awards, while New York Mets’ starter Matt Harvey (Mystic, Conn., Little League) has the team from Queens excited. All three former Little Leaguers® have been opening-day starters.

For baseball fans, there is nothing better than the return of Major League Baseball and the start of Little League season. Now that baseball is back, be sure to make the most of opening day wherever you are. Check out a list of former Little Leaguers that have recently seen time in the Major Leagues. If you know of a Little Leaguer not on the list, please, email the player’s name, his current or former MLB team, and the Little League in which he played, to Little League Director of Media Relations, Brian McClintock, at: bmcclintock@LittleLeague.org.

On the field and in the dugout, Little Leaguers are found in every facet of Major League Baseball, and that includes at the very top of the sport. Mr. Rob Manfred played Little League in Rome, N.Y., and is overseeing his first season as Major League Baseball’s Commissioner. Stay tuned for the April issue of Little League’s The Parent Connection newsletter to read a special conversation with MLB’s top executive.

Later this spring, Little Leaguers will enjoy an exclusive look inside the fun of Little League and the lives of Major Leaguers when the 2015 edition of Little League Magazine is delivered to local leagues throughout the United States. The stories and pictures inside share how big leaguers, like Little Leaguers, are really all just kids at heart. Colorful and creative, you will find this year’s Little League Magazine to be entertaining for players of all ages.

And twice a month, be sure to check out the Little Leaguer newsletters, which often feature great interviews with many notable Little League alumni. Also consider subscribing to the FREE Little League mailing list to receive monthly newsletters dedicated to parents (The Parent Connection), managers and coaches (Little League Coach’s Box); and local league officials (Little League Notebook).

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Little Leaguer® | April 2015 | Archive