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Little League World Series players who made it to the bigs
The Little League World Series starts next week in Williamsport, Pa.
For many kids, it will be among the most exciting things they ever do. My local team from Warner Robins, Ga., won the whole thing a couple of years ago and is again in the regional finals to take place Friday. It will be years before we know if any of these players will have any major league impact, but let's take a look at some MLB greats who were previously in the LLWS.
The first one that comes to my mind if Jason Varitek. He was in the LLWS in 1984 and has been a catcher for the Boston Red Sox since 1997. In between, he played baseball for Georgia Tech, where he also played in the College World Series in 1994. With the Red Sox, he has been part of the 2004 and 2007 World Series teams. He is one of only two players to have made it to all three World Series. That's quite an accomplishment.
Ed Vosberg is the other player who has appeared in the World Series in Little League, college and the big leagues. He was runner-up with Tucson, Ariz., in 1973, won the CWS with the University of Arizona in 1980, and won the 1997 World Series with the Florida Marlins. He was in and out of MLB with eight different teams between 1986 and 2002, but being one of two players to play in the LLWS, CWS, and MLB World Series gets him on this list.
New York Mets outfielder Jason Bay made it to the LLWS in 1990 and got into the big leagues in 2003. Since then, he has become one of the premier outfielders in the game.
Gary Sheffield is another well-known player to make it to the World Series as a 12-year-old and again as a professional. Sheffield is perhaps the most accomplished major leaguer to be a former LLWS player. He hit 509 home runs in his 22-year big-league career while playing for eight different teams.
It was tough to pick the last player for this list as there is a significant drop off after the first four, but Derek Bell is my choice. From Tampa, Bell was actually on the same LLWS team as Sheffield in 1980. Bell came back and made it in 1981 as well. In the major leagues, he was a career .276 hitter in 11 seasons. In 1995, he hit .334 and garnered some votes for MVP.
Andre is a former college baseball player, life-long Georgia resident, and avid Braves fan.
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