Little League® Graduates Honored During 2023 ESPYS


A celebration of the best in sports, the ESPYS are a time to commemorate the past year in sports and recognize the major athletic achievements, relive unforgettable moments, honor leading athletes, and more, including a number of superstars who got their start on a Little League® field. 

Below are some of the great former Little Leaguers® who were honored during the 2023 ESPYS:   

Liam Hendriks (Jimmy V Award for Perseverance) – Wanneroo LL (Perth, Australia) 

A graduate of Wanneroo Little League in Australia, Chicago White Sox pitcher, Liam Hendriks, was presented with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance as a symbol of his strength and resilience in his fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Battling cancer since late last year, Hendriks’ returned to the mound within six months and donated $100,000 to cancer research in the process. Past recipients of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance include fellow Little League graduates Dick Vitale (2022; Garfield (N.J.) Little League; 2012 Little League Hall of Excellence), Craig Sager (2016; Batavia (Ill.) Little League), and Stuart Scott (2014; NW Forsyth American Little League (Winston Salem, N.C.)).  

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Patrick Mahomes (Best Athlete, Men’s Sports; Best NFL Player) – Rose Capital East LL (Tyler, Texas) – 2010 JLBWS 

Following a tremendous season on the gridiron that saw him take home the Super Bowl Championship title, the 2010 Junior League Baseball World Series graduate from Rose Capital East Little League continues to shine on and off the field as a role model for Little Leaguers everywhere. 

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 Shohei Ohtani (Best MLB Player) – Mizusawa (Japan) LL 

A role model for Little Leaguers everywhere, Shohei Ohtani was named the best MLB Player during the 2023 ESPYS, marking his fourth-straight ESPY award including three Best MLB Player honors. The Mizusawa Little League graduate made a trip to Williamsport in 2021 as part of the MLB Little League Classic, visiting with the participating Little League Baseball® World Series teams throughout the day.  

Shohei Ohtani 2021 MLB Little League Classic

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Rishan Patel (Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award) – Menlo-Atherton (Calif.) LL  

A graduate of Menlo-Atherton (Calif.) Little League, Rishan Patel is the founder and CEO of the sports equity nonprofit, AlleyOop Kids, and its legacy project Lending Lockers. The 16-year-old from California started the Lending Lockers, which installs lockers filled with sports equipment at under-resourced schools. In just 10 months, Lending Lockers have been installed at more than 65 schools, serving over 50,000 youth in his community. Rishan has also empowered Locker Captains, who are fellow students that are equally passionate about sports equity and they manage inventory and gear drives for their locker. The project has expanded to assisted living facilities for neurodiverse young adults and he recently partnered with EmpowerHER in India to provide lockers to dozens of all-girls schools. 

In addition to Rishan, who was honored as one of the National honorees on stage during the event, Viva Kreis (Belle Vernon (Pa.) LL) was one of the 13 young people to receive honorable mention for the award.   

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 Max Clark (Gatorade Male National Player of the Year) – Franklin (Ind.) LL 

First named the National Player of the Year for the sport of baseball, Max Clark was also honored during the ESPYs as the top male high school athlete across all sports just days after being named the third overall draft pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.

In addition to Max, two other Little League grads earned National Player of the Year honors in their respective sports: 

  • Cameron Boozer (Gatorade National Player of the Year – Boys Basketball) – Kendall LL (Miami, Fla.) 
  • Angelina Napoleon (Gatorade National Player of the Year – Girls Track and Field) – Allegany (N.Y.) LL

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Along with the award recipients listed above, Cat Osterman, a Bear Creek LL (Houston, Texas) graduate and 2016 Little League Hall of Excellence Enshrinee, accepted the 2023 Women’s Capital One Cup honors on behalf of the University of Texas, her alma mater, where she became the first softball player to have her jersey retired in 2020.  

NOTE: If you know of a notable Little League graduate that would fit into any of these categories, please complete the Little League Alumni Submission form. Feel free to also share your Little League alumni story on social media by tagging @LittleLeague and by using #LLAlumni in your posts.