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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2003 > History Made in National League Division Series as Former LL World Series Participants Square Off

History Made in National League Division Series as Former LL World Series Participants Square Off

Gary Sheffield played in the 1980 Little League Baseball World Series for Belmont Heights Little League of Tampa, Florida.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Oct. 2, 2003) – It went into the scorebooks as a fly-out, but when the Atlanta Braves’ Gary Sheffield stepped up to the plate last night in the eighth inning of the National League Division Series game against Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Dave Veres, history was made.

Although 25 Little League World Series participants have reached the big leagues, it marked only the second time two former Little League Baseball World Series participants went on to face each other as pitcher and batter in Major League Baseball post-season play. Both times, it involved Gary Sheffield at the plate.

Gary Sheffield was 11 years old when he played for Belmont Heights Little League of Tampa, Fla., in the 1980 Little League Baseball World Series. Belmont Heights finished as the U.S. champion, falling 4-3 in the World Championship Game against Long Kuong Little League of Chinese Taipei. Mr. Sheffield led his team to the Little League Baseball World Series with a .600 batting average.

Two years earlier, Dave Veres was an 11-year old for Madrid (Spain) Little League in the 1978 Little League Baseball World Series. He played for a team composed of American children who were dependents of military personnel at Torrejon Air Base. Mr. Veres carried a .450 batting average into the Little League Baseball World Series, but his team was shut out in all three games in Williamsport.

The only other time two Little League Baseball World Series participants faced off was in the 1997 National League Division Series, when Gary Sheffield played for the Florida Marlins and Wilson Alvarez pitched in Game 3 for the San Francisco Giants. When he was 12, Wilson Alvarez played for Coquivacoa Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela, in the 1982 Little League Baseball World Series.

One other player in this year’s playoffs participated in the Little League Baseball World Series: Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. As a 12-year-old in 1984, he played for U.S. champion Altamonte Springs (Fla.) National Little League.

Over the years, thousands of Little League graduates have reached the Major League level. Twelve have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. They are: George Brett (1999), Steve Carlton (‘94), Gary Carter (‘03), Rollie Fingers (‘92), Jim “Catfish” Hunter (‘87), Jim Palmer (‘90), Nolan Ryan (‘99), Mike Schmidt (‘95), Tom Seaver (‘92), Don Sutton (‘98), Carl Yastrzemski (‘89), and Robin Yount (‘99). (Year of induction in parentheses.)

All Little League Baseball World Series participants who have reached the Major Leagues are listed below:

Wilson Alvarez (‘82)
Jim Barbieri (‘54)*
Derek Bell (‘80-‘81)*
Larvell Blanks (‘62)
Sean Burroughs (‘92-‘93)
Chin-Feng Chen (‘90)
Bill Connors (‘54)
Charlie Hayes (‘77)*
Ken Hubbs (‘54)
Keith Lampard (‘58)
Carney Lansford (‘69)*
Vance Lovelace (‘75)
Jason Marquis (‘91)
Lloyd McClendon (‘71)
Jim Pankovits (‘68)
Marc Pisciotta (‘83)
Boog Powell (‘54)*
Gary Sheffield (‘80)*
Carl Taylor (‘54)
Hector Torres (‘58)
Jason Varitek (‘84)
Dave Veres (‘78)
Ed Vosberg (‘73)**
Dan Wilson (‘81)
Rick Wise (‘58)*

(Number) denotes year player participated in the Little League Baseball World Series.

*Denotes player participated in Little League and Major League World Series.

**Denotes player participated in Little League World Series, College World Series and Major League World Series. No player has ever been on a world championship team in the Little League Baseball World Series and later on a winning team in the Major League Baseball World Series.