Every year when the Little League World Series is underway, you’ll see lots of stories about former LLWS players who went on to become big leaguers. I thought about doing one of these lists for today, in fact, until I decided it was kind of boring. So instead I narrowed my focus and looked for Little League World Series players who went on to to play in the real World Series. It turns out there are 11, and the list is full of great trivia.
But before we get started, I should note one thing. A lot of websites have listed Dwight Gooden as having played in the Little League World Series, which means he would also be on the list of players who have been in the LLWS and the real WS. The only problem is that Dwight Gooden did not play in the Little League World Series. And he certainly did not play in the 1979 Little League World Series, when many sites say he did. Because in August of 1979, Dwight Gooden was 14 years old. And the team from his city didn’t make the LLWS. They did in 1975, but Gooden was just 10, and was not on that team.
So what players did make this list? Let’s see, shall we?
We start off the list with a bit of trivia that was too good to pass up: Colby Rasmus is the only person ever to play in the Little League World Series and get a World Series Championship ring...without actually playing for the team that won the World Seires. You may recall that Rasmus started the 2011 season as the everyday center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, but was traded in July to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cardinals, of course, went on to win the 2011 World Series, and because he played for them earlier that year, Rasmus got a ring.
So while Rasmus doesn't qualify for this list, you see why I felt the need to mention him. Of course, there is one other player on this list who won a World Series ring despite not actually playing in that World Series (because he was left off the roster). But that's not the same. Plus, he appeared and played in another World Series on top of that.
12. Bonus Trivia: Colby Rasmus
Jim Barbieri didn't just play in the Little League World Series. He was the center fielder and captain of the team from Schenectady, New York, that won the whole thing in 1954. And this achievement earned him the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at the 1954 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in New York.
In 1966, Barbieri made his major league debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers in July and had one pinch hit at-bat for them in the 1966 World Series—which they lost. Then Jimmy never played in another Major League game.
His story is the exact opposite of the next guy on the list.
11. Jim Barbieri
Like Jimmy Barbieri, Boog Powell played in the 1954 Little League World Series. In fact, they played each other in that LLWS. However, Powell's team from Lakeland, Florida, lost to the champions from Schenectady, New York, in the first round by the score of 16-0.
The two played each other again in the 1966 World Series. However, John "Boog" Powell and his Baltimore Orioles had the upper hand that time, beating the Dodgers to win it all. And, unlike Barbieri, that 1966 was just the beginning for Powell. He went on to appear in three more World Series with the Orioles, winning the one in 1970. He also won the AL MVP in 1970 and made 4 All-Star appearances.
So while Jimmy Barbieri got all the attention in fame when they were 12, Boog Powell had the last laugh.
10. Boog Powell
Rick Wise played for the USA West team from Portland, Oregon, in the 1958 Little League World Series, losing in the first round to the eventual runners up from Kankakee, Illinois.
Wise went on to have an 18-year Major League career, even pitching a no-hitter in 1971 for the Phillies. However, the highlight of that career might actually be his role in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. No, no—he didn't give up the home run to Carlton Fisk. That would be too awesome. But was the official winning pitcher of that game (which is considered one of the greatest of all time) for Boston.
Unfortunately, as everyone knows, after winning Game 6 in extra innings at Fenway thanks to that famous home run—it's the one that Fisk waived fair—the Sox lost Game 7.
9. Rick Wise
Carney played in the 1969 LLWS for USA West, which was from Santa Clara, California. His team didn't win that year, finishing second to the team from Taiwan; however, Lansford's successes in the Major League more than made up for that childhood disappointment. In 1981 Lansford won the AL batting title, and later the third baseman made three straight World Series appearance with the Oakland A's from 1989-90, winning a ring against the Giants in '89.
8. Carney Lansford
Ed Vosberg played in the 1974 World Series for the team from Tucson, Arizona, which, like so many other American teams of that era, lost in the finals to the team from Taiwan. Vosberg then went on to play 10 seasons in the Majors over 16 years as a lefty reliever, bouncing around the league. In 1997, at the age of 35, Vosberg started the season with the Texas Rangers, but was lucky enough to get traded to the eventual World Series Champion Marlins. He made two appearances in the WS that year, pitching 3 innings and giving up 3 hits and 2 earned runs.
7. Ed Vosberg
Charlie Hayes played for the team from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in the 1977 Little League World Series, losing in the first round (to the eventual runners up, who lost to—you guessed it—Taiwan). However, Hayes had a solid 14-year Major League career playing third and first base that included a World Series appearance with the Yankees in 1996. In fact, Hayes caught the last out of that World Series, a pop-up off the bat of the Atlanta Braves' Mark Lemke.
6. Charlie Hayes
Derek Bell is the only player on this list to have played in two Little League World Series. In 1980 and then again in 1981 Bell played on the team from the powerhosue Belmont Heights Little League in Tampa, Florida. Of course, both times they were runners up to—you know it—Taiwan.
In any case, Bell was drafted by the Blue Jays and made his Major League debut in 1991. Then, in 1992, the outfielder appeared in 61 games over the course of the season, 2 games in the ALCS, and 2 games in the WS—getting two plate appearance and one walk—earning himself a ring.
5. Derek Bell
Gary Sheffield was Derek Bell's teammate on that 1980 Little League World Series team from Tampa that finished second. And while you might automatically assume that he appeared in many World Series since he spent three years with the Yankees toward the end of his career, his only World Series appearance came with the Marlins back in 1997.
Of course, he won that World Series.
4. Gary Sheffield
Jason Marquis played for the team from Staten Island in the 1991 Little League World Series, finishing third behind the teams from Danville, California (1st) and Taiwan (surprise, surprise). His career as a major leaguer has been more successful...sort of.
You see, despite the fact that everyone says he has good stuff (or did, in his prime), Marquis has not been able to stick in one place. He's spent 4 years with the Braves, 3 with the Cardinals, 2 with the Cubs, 1 with the Rockies, 1.5 with the Nationals, .5 with the Rockies, .5 with the twins, and .5 with the Padres—his current club.
As for his World Series record...it's interesting. In 2004, he made the WS with the Cardinals. Though a starter, he appeared in relief in a wacky Game 1 and scored a run before the Sox eventually won 11-9. Then he was the St. Louis starter in Game 4, doing better than any other Cards starter by going 6 innings and giving up just 3 runs in the eventual loss.
Marquis made the World Series again in 2006 as a member of the Cardinals. However, he was left off the WS roster. So even though he didn't throw a pitch, he got a World Series ring because the Cardinals beat the Tigers.
Thus, Marquis is the player mentioned earlier in the "Bonus Trivia" section about Colby Rasmus.
3. Jason Marquis
Along with Ed Vosberg, Jason Varitek is one of two players to play in the Little League World Series, the College World Series, and the real World Series.
His appearance in the LLWS was with Altamonte Springs, Florida, who finished second to South Korea in 1984. Then, 20 years later, he made his first appearance in the actual World Series, in which he and the Boston Red Sox defeated Jason Marquis and the St. Louis Cardinals to break the Curse of the Bambino.And of course, Varitek and the Red Sox won the World Series again in 2007.
2. Jason Varitek
We wrap up the list with some symmetry. You see, Lance Lynn, a member of the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, played in the 1999 Little League World Series for the team from Brownsburg, Indiana. That team lost to the team from Phoenix City, Alabama, in group play—and on that team was Lance Lynn's former teammate, Colby Rasmus.
Pretty crazy, isn't it?
1. Lance Lynn
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