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Records in Little League Play

In more than a half-century of Little League play in more than 100 countries, at least 50 million Little League games have been played.

Because there is no way to obtain or compile the statistics from these games, there is no way to conclusively determine the all-time records in any category.

Perfect games, for instance, are certainly a rarity. Little League International estimates several dozen perfect games are pitched each year in various levels of Little League Baseball and Softball. A perfect game in which all batters are retired via strikeout is even more of a rarity, but it does happen a few times each year.

However, one Little Leaguer who went on to lead his team to the Little League Baseball World Series compiled single-season pitching statistics that seem to set the standard.

Hamtramck (Mich.) National Little League reached the Little League Baseball World Series in 1959, having won nine of ten tournament games via shutout. On the first day of the Little League Baseball World Series, Hamtramck’s 135-pound pitcher, Art “Pinky” Deras, tossed a one-hitter as his team beat San Juan, Puerto Rico, 5-0, extending his personal string of scoreless innings pitched to 69. He fanned 17, maintaining his season average of 2.8 strikeouts per inning.

Hamtramck then defeated Oahu, Hawaii, 7-1 in the semifinal (behind an Art Deras grand slam) to reach the final game.

Art took the mound for the championship against West Auburn (Calif.) Little League, Surrendering only three hits, he pushed his scoreless streak to 75 innings in a 12-0 victory.

His single-season pitching statistics were printed in newspapers around the country, and were nothing less than staggering: 18 complete games, 18 victories, 16 shutouts, 10 no-hitters (including five straight), 298 strikeouts and only 10 walks in 108 innings.

Little League International has received reports of Little Leaguers hitting 50 or more home runs in a season, but Art Deras’ hitting statistics also are worth mentioning. He hit 13 home runs in 13 tournament games, giving him 33 for the season, along with 112 runs batted in.

Art Deras went on to play professional baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, and retired recently as a police officer in Michigan.