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Former Major League Player, Manager Lloyd McClendon To be Enshrined in Little League Museum Hall of Excellence

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (July 31, 2006) – To be considered a legend by the age of 12 is unimaginable unless you witnessed the performance by “Legendary Lloyd” McClendon in the 1971 Little League Baseball World Series.

In leading Anderson Little League of Gary, Ind., to the United States championship, Mr. McClendon hit five home runs in five official World Series at-bats.

The 60th Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa., will mark the 35-year anniversary of Mr. McClendon’s memorable feat, and this August, on the same field where he made history, he will be enshrined in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum’s Hall of Excellence.

The enshrinement ceremony will take place before the U.S. championship game, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 26.

“Enshrinement in the Little League Hall of Excellence, what a tremendous honor,” Mr. McClendon, bullpen coach for the Detroit Tigers, said. “I was extremely taken aback when I found out, and just thinking about the World Series brought back a lot of memories. I really believe the foundation I had as a Little Leaguer is the reason I’m what I am today. Having the opportunity to coach and manage in the Major Leagues is all the result of my experiences in Little League.”

Standing an imposing 5-foot-8, Mr. McClendon pitched and played catcher as Anderson Little League rolled to a 12-0 tournament record, winning the North Region Championship and earning a berth in the 25th Little League Baseball World Series.

During the Series, Mr. McClendon hit two home runs in each of his team’s first two games and was intentionally walked in the remainder of his three at-bats. Anderson Little League won its first game, 7-2, over Gardenside Little League of Lexington, Ky., and followed with a 7-0 shutout of Madrid, Spain, to reach the World Championship game against the International bracket champion from Tainan, Chinese Taipei.

“I didn’t know the significance of hitting those home runs at that time,” Mr. McClendon, a 1977 graduate of Roosevelt High School in Gary, said. “Looking back now I realize just how important that was. Being on the first all-black team in the World Series was a feat by itself, because most kids in my neighborhood didn’t have the opportunity to even travel let alone experience different cultures.”

Mr. McClendon, who was the winning pitcher in his team’s first World Series game, was on the mound for the World Championship game. In the bottom of the first inning, Mr. McClendon got his team on the scoreboard with a three-run home run. Taiwan later tied the game, 3-3, and the score remained unchanged through eight innings.

In the ninth inning, Taiwan scored nine runs en route to a 12-3 victory and claimed the third of the country’s six consecutive World Series titles. Mr. McClendon was the losing pitcher, striking out 12 batters in eight innings, but surrendered seven of the nine runs in the decisive frame. In the World Series tournament, he posted a 1-1 pitching record, while driving in 10 runs batted in, with six runs scored, and five walks, along with his five homers.

“We ran up against a team that was better than us and a pitcher that was more dominant that I was,” Mr. McClendon said. “That game was a defining moment in my life. It had a lot to do with who I was, and who I would become. When I came off the field that day I felt like I failed. I’ll never forget my dad telling me that you have nothing to be ashamed of, and it was at that moment when I learned that Little League is not about winning or losing, but about how you play the game.”

Undaunted, Mr. McClendon, now 47, stayed in baseball and debuted in the Major Leagues in 1987 with the Cincinnati Reds. Also playing for the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates, he retired as a player in 1995 after nine seasons, and became a minor-league hitting coordinator in the Pirates organization in 1996. In 1997, he joined the Pirates’ Major League coaching staff as hitting coach. Mr. McClendon was elevated to manager in October 2000 and served in that position through the 2005 season. This season he joined the Detroit Tigers managed by former Pirates’ manager Jim Leyland.

“Mr. McClendon left an indelible mark on the Little League World Series that still resonates all these years later,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Aside from his on-field exploits, he showed that individual glory is wonderful, but pales in comparison to team success. Those lessons learned during his Little League experience helped shape his decisions later in life – a life that carried him to the Major Leagues. It is our privilege to welcome him back to Williamsport, and enshrine him in the Hall of Excellence.”

Established in 1988, enshrinement in the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence is conducted annually for a Little League graduate (or graduates) who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen profession and exemplify the values learned as children in Little League Baseball or Softball. Enshrinees are selected through a defined voting system by the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Advisory Board.

Mr. McGovern saw the need for a physical structure to tell the story of Little League. To that end, he spearheaded the development of the Little League Museum. Opened during the 1982 Little League World Series, the museum is located on the Little League International complex. It was renamed in Mr. McGovern’s honor upon his retirement in 1983.