On Thursday, August 27, 2020, former Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek made history as he became the first Little League Baseball® World Series graduate to be inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
As a 12-year-old, Mr. Varitek played a key role in Altamonte Springs (Fla.) National Little League’s run to the 1984 Little League Baseball World Series United States Championship. Following his memorable Little League® career, Mr. Varitek went on to play third base and back-up catcher behind eventual pro prospect, Jerry Thurston, at Lake Brantley High School.
After graduating high school, he then went on to play baseball at Georgia Tech alongside eventual Red Sox teammates, Nomar Garciapara and Jay Payton. In 1992, he was named a member of the U.S. Olympic team and wan the Dick Howser Trophy for National Collegiate Player of the Year. The next year, Mr. Varitek was also named Baseball America’s 1993 Player of the Year, and in 1994, the three future Red Sox stars helped the Yellow Jackets earn a trip to the College World Series title game. In addition to his experience at Georgia Tech, Mr. Varitek played two standout seasons in the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) for the Hyannis Mets, eventually earning induction into the CCBL Hall of Fame in 2002. To this day, Mr. Varitek holds the honor of being the only Georgia Tech baseball player to have his number (33) retired by the University.
After passing on a 21st overall draft pick as a junior in college, Mr. Varitek was later drafted 14th overall by the Seattle Mariners in the 1994 amateur draft and entered the minor league system in 1995. In 1997, he was traded, alongside eventual longtime teammate Derek Lowe, to the Red Sox where he would go on to become a three-time all-star, two-time World Series champion, 2005 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner, and Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer. After retiring in 2012, Mr. Varitek went on to work in the Boston Red Sox Front Office as a Special Assistant and Catching Coach and continues to serve in that capacity today.
To date, Mr. Varitek is one of only three former Little Leaguers to play in each the Little League Baseball World Series, College World Series, and Major League Baseball World Series, joining Ed Vosberg and Michael Conforto with the honor. During the 2004 MLB World Series, Mr. Varitek became the first Little League Baseball World Series graduate to play against another when he faced off against St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and South Shore American Little Leaguer, Jason Marquis. In 2012, Mr. Varitek was honored by Little League International as a William A. “Bill” Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award during the 66th Little League Baseball World Series.