It happens every August. The Little League World Series. Personally, I have found myself watching a few hours of the LLWS every August. I wonder if most baseball fans do the same. This past week I found myself wondering how many LLWS players of the past made it to the major leagues. I did a little research and will throw out some names of players who did just that.
Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the most recent standouts who saw LLWS action. Before he was a World Series-winning star, Bellinger helped the Chandler National Little League team represent Arizona to a Little League World Series semifinal appearance in 2007. Ten years later, Bellinger was named the NL Rookie of the Year Two years later he was the NL MVP. Bellinger became a World Series Champion in 2020.
Todd Frazier is still a LLWS legend. He led the 1998 Toms River East team to the finals against the Far East. All Frazier did was go 4-for-4 with a home run as Toms River won the title. He reached the majors in 2012 and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Frazier was a two-time All-Star and he belted 40 home runs in 2016 for the Chicago White Sox.
Lance Lynn almost won the AL Cy Young Award last season. Mentioned often last year was the fact that Lynn appeared in the 1999 LLWS for Central Brownsburg. His team won the Central Region before falling to Frazier’s Toms River team. In his first season in the majors, Lynn reached the World Series and won a title with the St. Louis Cardinals. He followed that season up with an All-Star appearance.
I went back quite a ways looking for stories and found one with slugger Boog Powell. Back in 1954, he played with the Lakeland Little League team and reached the LLWS quarterfinals. Powell went on to a storied career with the Baltimore Orioles. A four-time All-Star, Powell finished his career with 339 home runs and a .266 career batting average. He also had a MVP season.
Jason Bay did Canada proud back in 1990 when his team from British Columbia reached the LLWS. Bay’s team fell to eventual champion Taiwan in the semifinals. Bay went on to enjoy a solid MLB career. Playing primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bay was a three-time All-Star and won the 2004 Rookie of the Year. He finished his 11-year MLB career with a career batting average of .266 while recording 222 career home runs. I also learned that he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.