To get to the Little League World Series you need an all-around talented team committed to winning and playing baseball all summer long. Not just anyone can get there. We may think this is a rite of passage for many professional baseball players however few have had the chance to play in the latter stages of the tournament. These are some of the most notable athletes, baseball or otherwise, who have participated in the ultimate contest of little league baseball.
Boog Powell 1954 Lakeland, Florida
Before the Little League World Series went international, Boog Powell was playing in the tournament representing Lakeland, Florida. In his Major League career Powell slugged 339 home runs, won an MVP in 1970, and is the owner of two World Series champions with the Baltimore Orioles. At the Little League World Series, Powell’s Lakeland team failed to qualify for the finals.
Charlie Hayes 1977 Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Third baseman Charlie Hayes might best be remembered as the man who caught the final out of the 1996 World Series to give the New York Yankees the victory. Back in 1977 though, he was representing a smaller team from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Like Powell, Hayes’s better days came in the major leagues as Hattiesburg did not reach the finals.
Gary Sheffield 1980 Tampa, Florida
Slugger Gary Sheffield won one World Series in his major league career when he helped the 1997 Florida Marlins defeat the Cleveland Indians. He was well-prepared for this game as in 1980 he was part of the little league team from Tampa, Florida that took on the most dominant little league representative in history, Taiwan. Sheffield’s team lost, but his 509 career home runs and millions of dollars he made playing professional hint that he probably got over it.
Pierre Turgeon 1982 Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec
Baseball fans may not recognize the name Pierre Turgeon and for good reason. Turgeon’s athletic success came playing professional hockey in the NHL. But before he was lacing up his skates with the St. Louis Blues, Turgeon was wearing a pair of cleats representing Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec in the Little League World Series. Just as many before him, Turgeon failed to win or even reach the finals as this was the year Kirkland, Washington would end Taiwan’s streak of five consecutive victories.
Jason Varitek 1984 Altamonte Spring, Florida
The former captain of the Boston Red Sox and one of the locker room leaders who helped end the Curse of Babe Ruth was one of the players from Altamonte, Florida who almost won the Little League World Series in 1984. Unfortunately for them South Korea had other plans as they ended up as the victors. Varitek would certainly exchange that loss for two World Series wins with the Red Sox.
Matt Cassel 1994 Northridge, California
Apparently, at least at one point, quarterback Matt Cassel was a good baseball player. In 1994 his team from Northridge, California played the Venezuelan team in the finals of the Little League World Series. Sadly they came short of winning. Even worse for Cassel he became the backup quarterback for the New England Patriots a year too late as they have not won a Super Bowl since.
Jurickson Profar 2004 & 2005 Willemstad, Curaçao
There’s a lot of hype surrounding what Jurickson Profar can do for the Texas Rangers. If the success his little league team from Willemstad, Curaçao is any indication they should prepare themselves for a parade. Profar went to back-to-back Little League World Series finals in 2004 and 2005. In 2004 he celebrated with his teammates with a win over Thousand Oaks, California. In their attempt to repeat they were stopped in 2005 by the team from Ewa Beach, Hawaii.
Little League Online