Most Memorable Players From the Little League World Series
So many young ballplayers aim to go to Williamsport, PA, and play in the Little League World Series. Whether from their star performance, controversial participation, or their career after the tournament, these are the most memorable players from the Little League World Series.
Todd Frazier had a productive big-league career, hitting 218 home runs in 11 seasons for six clubs. The two-time All-Star’s professional career peaked in 2015 when he won the Home Run Derby in front of his home crowd in Cincinnati. Frazier knew how to pick the right bat for that occasion. The following year Frazier moved to the White Sox and bounced around the league until he retired earlier this year.
Frazier’s greatest achievement on the diamond came as a youngster by taking a Toms River, New Jersey squad to a championship as the winning pitcher and going 4-for-4 at the dish. Toms River returned to Williamsport the following year but couldn’t repeat as champion.
Gary Sheffield played his last MLB game in 2009, so you likely won’t recollect the name. However, Sheffield was one of the most feared hitters in his 22-year career, with 509 home runs that helped him have a .907 OPS.
Before the nine-time All-Star made his debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1988, Sheffield already had a taste of the spotlight, taking his Belmont Heights Little League team to the finals in 1980. Ultimately, they dropped the championship game to Taiwan 4-3, but his prestigious career made up for the loss.
No one should know who Lloyd McClendon is unless you’re a fan of the Toledo Mud Hens, where he’s a manager now. But the eight-year veteran and former MLB manager got the moniker “Legendary Lloyd” because of his performance in the LLWS.
The term “legendary” seems fitting when you hit five home runs in five straight at-bats. Hailing from Gary, Indiana, the only person with more hits was Michael Jackson.
The Bronx, New York Little League squad took the world by storm in the 2001 LLWS. Their most notable player, Danny Almonte, was electric on the mound, dazzling hitters with his 70-plus mph fastball. The Bronx group failed to make the finals, eventually losing to Florida, but that was the least of their problems.
Shortly after their elimination, it came out that Almonte lied about his age. The 12-year-old Dominican southpaw was 14, which would have prohibited him from competing at that level. It’s a shame that grown adults took advantage of a child to their benefit, but nothing should surprise us anymore.
The last Little Leaguer to create a significant stir was in 2014 when Mo’ne Davis proved that anything boys could do, girls could do better, becoming the first girl to shutout a team in the Little League World Series. Davis was throwing a hair above 70 mph, which translates to a 93-mph heater from a big-league mound.
Like Almonte, there was no shortage of controversy surrounding Davis, although none of it was her or her team’s fault. The Chicago area team that ousted them used players from opposing districts, creating a super team, or else Davis’s Philly team could have gone further in the tournament.
As the games continue, a new future phenom may come to light. But these five are the most memorable players from the Little League World Series.