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Super Bowl Hero Played Little League Baseball

Adam Vinatieri, kicker for the NFL Champion New England Patriots, has always been a Patriot at heart dating back to his Little League days. Here he’s shown wearing the Patriots colors of his Harney Little League team in Rapid City, S.D.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Feb. 19, 2004) - New England Patriots place-kicker Adam Vinatieri has been the hero of two Super Bowls, but this is not his first stint with a Patriots team.

In the Harney Little League (Rapid City, S.D.), the future NFL place-kicker was a pitcher and catcher for a team called the Patriots. In 1985, as a 12-year-old, his tournament team won the state tournament in the Little League Baseball (Majors) Division.

Adam and his three siblings played in the league, and his father, Paul Vinatieri said the experience helped shape their lives. Mr. Vinatieri noted that his wife, Judy, was a volunteer coach while he was a member of the grounds crew.

“All our kids had an excellent time with it,” Mr. Vinatieri said. “Growing up, the kids played baseball. I think we had good coaches, managers and parents, and that’s all very beneficial for the kids and their families.”

He added: “Adam was an excellent Little Leaguer.”

Adam, originally from Yankton, S.D., now lives in Attleboro, Mass., with his wife Valerie, and their seven-month-old son Adam Matthew. The 31-year-old place-kicker is a member of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), and the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau. He also is spokesperson for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s teen anti-smoking contest.

Adam would parley his youth athletic prowess to letter in football, soccer, track and wrestling at Rapid City Central High School, and was a first-team all-state football selection in 1991. He was a four-year letterman at South Dakota State University, earning all-conference place-kicker honors in three seasons and finishing his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 185 career points.

Adam’s game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXVIII, and in the Super Bowl two years ago, earned him a reputation as a clutch performer. This past season, he made 75 percent of his field goal attempts, and accounted for 117 of New England’s points.