Little League Baseball® World Series brackets named in Memory of Hank Aaron and Tom Seaver; Little League Softball® World Series Pools to Celebrate Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza
With the Little League® Baseball and Softball World Series featuring teams solely from the United States in 2021, the designated participating fields in both events will be named in honor of four Hall of Famers who have embodied the mission of the Little League program during their baseball and softball careers.
Traditionally designated for U.S. and International brackets, the 2021 Little League Baseball® World Series (LLBWS) brackets will be named in memory of National Baseball Hall of Famers, Hank Aaron and Tom Seaver, while the two Little League Softball® World Series (LLSWS) playing pools will be named after National Softball Hall of Famers and Team USA Olympic gold medalists, Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza.
“While the 2021 Little League Baseball and Softball World Series may have a much different look, we are looking forward to honoring four of the game’s most respected players at our premiere baseball and softball events,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “It is an honor for us to recognize the two great Hall of Famers we lost this year in Hank Aaron and Tom Seaver, as well as two of softball’s most talented and influential superstars in Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza. We hope each of their legacies will continue to inspire the next great wave of Little Leaguers who have the chance to participate in our iconic events.”
At the LLBWS in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the eight teams on the left side of the bracket will compete for the “Hank Aaron Championship” while the eight teams on the right side of the bracket will compete for the “Tom Seaver Championship” before playing in the LLBWS Championship Game.
Similarly, the 2021 LLSWS in Greenville, North Carolina, will open with its traditional pool-play format, featuring a “Jennie Finch Pool” and a “Jessica Mendoza Pool,” each consisting five teams, to determine which teams advance to the single-elimination segment of the tournament.
A 1982 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, Hank Aaron is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in baseball history. To date, Mr. Aaron remains second all-time on the home run list with 755 and is still the leader in career RBI (2,297), Total Bases (6,856), and Extra-Base Hits (1,477). Along with his playing accolades, Mr. Aaron was also the recipient of the 2002 Presidential Medal of Freedom and, in 1999, MLB introduced the “Hank Aaron Award” to recognize the top offensive players in each league. Following his induction into the Hall of Fame, Mr. Aaron became a friend of the Little League program, helping to promote the Little League Urban Initiative as well as the Little League Drug Education Initiative throughout the early 1990s. Mr. Aaron passed away in January 2021 of natural causes just two weeks before his 87th birthday, but his legacy will remain in the game’s history for generations to come.
The first inductee in the Little League Hall of Excellence, Tom Seaver was actively involved with the growth of baseball and was a great friend of the Little League program throughout his entire life. A graduate of Spartan Little League in Fresno, California, Mr. Seaver went on to an incredible 19-year MLB career and was later inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. Not only was Mr. Seaver a Little League graduate, he also served as a member of the Little League Museum Board of Directors where he served a five-year term as chairman, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the inaugural Little League Baseball Intermediate (50/70) Division World Series in Livermore, California, in 2013. Mr. Seaver passed away peacefully in his sleep of complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19, on Monday, August 31, 2020, at the age of 75.
An Olympic gold medalist for Team USA Softball, a National Softball Hall of Fame inductee, and a 2001 Women’s College World Series champion, Jennie Finch has been an inspiration to young softball players for more than two decades. After her prestigious playing career, she went on to work for ESPN as a color commentator for National Pro Fastpitch and college softball games and continues to help grow the game at every level. Her efforts to bring the game of baseball and softball to communities around the world include collaborations with MLB Play Ball Park, participation in the annual MLB All-Star Weekend Celebrity Softball Game, as well as grant and scholarship efforts as a youth ambassador.
Along with being an Olympic gold medalist, 2011 National Pro Fastpitch Player of the Year, and a National Softball Hall of Fame inductee, Jessica Mendoza has been heavily involved with the Little League program for many years, not only as a member of the ESPN broadcast team at the LLBWS, but also as a Little League mom and a Coach Pitch coach at her local league. Her inspiration to young women stems long past her tremendous achievements on the softball field as a player, but also in her professional career, serving as a co-chair of the Women’s Sports Foundation Athlete Advisory Panel, becoming the first female analyst for a nationally televised MLB Postseason game in 2015, and calling the first ever MLB Little League Classic.
The official pairings and schedules for the 2021 Little League Baseball and Softball World Series will be announced live on Little League’s Facebook Page (Facebook.com/LittleLeague) at Noon on Friday, June 18.