Trio of Little League Baseball World Series Alums Play in Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Detroit
The 76th MLB All-Star game was played in Detroit and Jason Varitek (National Little League, Altamonte Springs, Fla.), Gary Sheffield (Belmont Heights Little League, Tampa) and Jason Bay (Trail Little League, Trail, British Columbia, Canada) each were voted into the mid-summer classic.
Mr. Varitek, captain of the World Champion Boston Red Sox, who are leading the American League’s Eastern Division, entered the all-star break batting .301, with 13 home runs and 36 runs batted in. Mr. Varitek played in the 1984 Little League Baseball World Series, losing the world title game to a team from Seoul, South Korea. Following last year’s World Series appearance, Mr. Varitek joined Ed Vosberg as the only players to appear in the Little League Baseball, College, and Major League Baseball World Series.
Battling Boston are the division-rival Yankees, who had Mr. Sheffield as one of their representatives in Detroit. Mr. Sheffield, whose team lost the 1981 Little League Baseball World Series championship game to Chinese Taipei, entered the all-star break hitting .298 with 17 home runs, 68 RBI and seven stolen bases.
Jason Bay of the Pittsburgh Pirates is the defending National League Rookie of the Year and played in the Little League Baseball World Series as an 11-year-old in 1990. Mr. Bay has had an impressive start to his second full major league season, batting .299 with 16 home runs, 44 runs batted in, and five stolen bases.
Other Little League Baseball World Series alums playing Major League Baseball include: San Diego Padres third baseman, Sean Burroughs (Long Beach, Calif., Little League, 1992-93); Los Angeles Dodgers Wilson Alvarez (Coquivacoa Little League, Maracaibo, Venezuela, 1982), and Chin-Feng Chen (San-Hau Little League, Tainan County, Chinese Taipei, 1990).
Mr. Burroughs has struggled through a difficult first half despite the Padres leading the National League’s Western Division at the All-Star break. As San Diego’s starting third baseman, Sean has a produced a .255 batting average and only one home run, while driving in 15 runs, and stealing three bases.
Mr. Alvarez is currently injured and on the disabled list. For the season, he has posted an earned run average of 5.79 and a 1-3 record in 10 games.
Mr. Chen has spent most of the season at Triple-A Albuquerque, but in three games with the Dodgers has batted .400 with two RBI.
The only other active pitcher with Little League Baseball World Series experience is the St. Louis Cardinals’ Jason Marquis. In 18 starts for the defending National League champions, Mr. Marquis has a record of 8-6 with an ERA of 3.89 and 58 strikeouts. Mr. Marquis and Mr. Varitek have the distinction of being the only Little League Baseball World Series participants to face each other as pitcher and batter in the Major League Baseball World Series.
A total of 29 players have played in the Little League Baseball World Series and later played Major League Baseball. There are 12 Little League Baseball graduates enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, with Little League graduate Wade Boggs to be inducted this summer.