Remembering Jack Losch: The First LLBWS Graduate to Play Professional Sports

Jack Losch LLBWS Photo

Jack Losch’s legacy is far greater than what he did on a Little League® field, although what he did there was pretty special too.

Mr. Losch was the starting center fielder on the very first team to win the Little League Baseball® World Series. He went 2-for-4 in the championship game when the Maynard Midgets of Williamsport topped Lock Haven All-Stars, 16-7, on August 23, 1947.

About eight years later, after playing as a three-sport athlete at the University of Miami, Mr. Losch would be selected eighth overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 1955 NFL Draft. The Packers’ selection would make Mr. Losch the first professional athlete to play in the Little League Baseball World Series.

Mr. Losch would only play one season in the NFL, however, as he chose to become a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force for three years following his rookie season. Unfortunately, injury prevented him from returning to his NFL Career after he served.

Mr. Losch kept his ties with Little League, serving as honorary chairman of the Little League Baseball World Series 50th Anniversary Celebration in 1996. While in that role, Mr. Losch spoke of his time in Williamsport.

“Playing in the Little League World Series gave me the confidence in myself to know there was nothing I couldn’t do,” said Mr. Losch.

Mr. Losch’s legacy continues to live on in Williamsport today. Following his death in 2004, Little League International introduced the Jack Losch Little League Baseball World Series Team Sportsmanship Award, given to the team that best exemplifies the spirit that Mr. Losch displayed both on and off the playing field. His legacy can also be found as displayed in an exhibit with the World of Little League® Museum.

Jack Losch Museum Photo

Mr. Losch also paved the way for future Little Leaguers® who would go on to become professional athletes. Since Mr. Losch’s debut on the gridiron in 1955, many former athletes who played at the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport have also gone on to play in the NFL. Those players include:

  • Brian Sipe: 1961 LLBWS (Northern LL – El Cajon, Calif.), 1999 Hall of Excellence Enshrinee, and 1980 NFL MVP.
  • Turk Schonert: 1968 LLBWS (Bolsa LL – Garden Grove, Calif.) and ninth-round pick by the Chicago Bears in the 1980 NFL Draft.
  • Gale Gilbert: 1974 LLBWS (Red Bluff (Calif.) LL) and only person to play in five consecutive Super Bowls.
  • Matt Cassell: 1994 LLBWS (Northridge (Calif.) LL), 2010 Pro Bowler, and seventh-round pick by the New England Patriots in the 2005 NFL Draft.
  • Julian Vandervelde: 2000 LLBWS (Davenport (Iowa) LL), Holds NFL record for being released 21 times in his career – Went on to launching logs at Highland Games
  • Trey Quinn: 2008 LLBWS (South Lake Charles (La.) LL) and the final pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Washington Commanders (“Mr. Irrelevant”); Threw a No-Hitter in the 2008 LLBWS.
  • Cortez Broughton: 2009 LLBWS (Warner Robins (Ga.) American LL) and seventh-round pick by the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2019 NFL Draft.
  • Jake Fromm: 2011 LLBWS (Warner Robins (Ga.) American LL) and fifth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2020 NFL Draft.

To learn more about some of the notable alumni to play Little League as a child, visit

NOTE: If you know of a notable Little League graduate that would fit into any of these categories, please complete the above Little League Alumni Submission form.

NOTE: As the world gears up to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Little League Baseball® World Series (LLBWS) in August 2022, Little League® International will feature content such as this in a series of franchises that highlights some of the key moments, memories, and people that have made the LLBWS one of the most iconic sporting events in the world. For more information, visit