The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles will play in the fourth iteration of the “MLB Little League Classic presented by GEICO” in 2020, as announced by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and Little League International on Wednesday, August 7. The game, which will take place on Sunday, August 23, 2020 and serve as a home game for the Orioles, will air nationally that evening on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” and ESPN Radio at 7 p.m. (ET).
“Over the last two years, this event has brought so much excitement and joy to not only the MLB clubs and the Little Leaguers participating in the Little League Baseball World Series, but to all the young baseball and softball players at home watching the event on ESPN,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “These two clubs have a long history of supporting Little League and the children in their communities, and we’re looking forward to welcoming the first American League teams to the Little League World Series.”
Based on the MLB active rosters as of the day of the announcement, there are multiple Red Sox and Orioles players who got their start in the Little League program who will be getting the chance to come to Williamsport and experience the MLB Little League Classic, where they will attend Little League Baseball World Series games earlier in the day on August 23, demonstrating their commitment to helping grow the game at the youth level. Those players include:
Boston Red Sox:
- Xander Bogaerts – Aruba South LL
- Played in the 2009 Senior League Baseball World Series
- Sandy Leon – El Mojan LL (Maracaibo, Venezuela)
- Stephen Pearce – Lakeland City (Fla.) Baseball LL
- Dustin Pedroia – Woodland (Calif.) LL
- Chris Sale – Lakeland City (Fla.) Baseball LL
- Ramon Vazquez (Analytics Coach) – Roberto Rivera Miranda (Puerto Rico) LL
- Aaron Brooks – Newmark (Calif.) LL
- Jose D. Flores (Coach) – Managed the Villa Blanca Boys and Girls LL (Caguas, Puerto Rico)
- Mychal Givens – West Tampa (Fla.) LL
- Josh Rogers – New Albany (Ind.) LL
The Boston Red Sox Foundation is active in providing aid to local Little League programs and the Red Sox provided strong support to Little League for the development of the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center at our Eastern Region Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. In 2018, demonstrating their commitment to growing the game at the youngest levels, the Baltimore Orioles introduced their Kids Cheer Free initiative, which allows fans ages nine and younger to attend games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards free of charge.
In addition to current players, some notable alumni of both the Orioles and the Red Sox have close ties to Little League. Orioles legend Boog Powell played in the 1954 Little League Baseball World Series. He, along with Jim Barbieri, became the first baseball players to play in both the MLB and Little League World Series, both participating in Williamsport in 1954 and competing against each other in the 1966 World Series. Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer was enshrined in the Little League Hall of Excellence in 1994 and remains a close friend of the organization. And Little League International Board of Directors Member and one of the newest Hall of Famers, Mike Mussina, got his MLB start in Baltimore. For the Red Sox, Jason Varitek holds the distinction of being one of three baseball players to have played in the Little League, College, and MLB World Series.
MLB and the MLBPA launched the Little League Classic at the renovated Historic Bowman Field, the home of the Phillies’ Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters of the NY-Penn League, in August 2017. The Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017, the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the New York Mets in 2018, and the Pirates will return to host the Chicago Cubs next week. As has become tradition, a significant portion of the capacity at Bowman Field will be filled with the players and families of the participating Little League Baseball World Series teams, as well as local Williamsport youth baseball and softball organizations.