Top News

Pro athletes who played in a Little League World Series Championship Game  4 Weeks ago

Source:   USA Today  

It's an incredible accomplishment for any young athlete to reach the Little League World Series.

It's another thing entirely to make it all the way to the championship game. (The 2019 Little League World Series semifinals – Willemstad, Curacao vs. Chofu City, Japan and River Ridge, Louisiana vs. Wailuku, Hawaii – will be held Saturday, with the final taking place Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ABC.)

From within that already elite population, just 11 players have then gone on to reach a professional sports league, with nearly as many going pro in something outside baseball as in Major League Baseball itself.

Matt Cassel (NFL)

When: 1994, Northridge, Calif.

When he went pro: Cassel has proven to be an NFL journeyman, perhaps most famous as Tom Brady's backup who nearly led the Patriots to the NFL playoffs during the season in which Brady suffered a torn ACL. Before his football career petered out, he was a first baseman for a Northridge squad that reached a championship showdown against Venezuela, where it fell just short.

Chris Drury (NHL)

When: 1989, Trumbull, Conn.

When he went pro: Drury has a truly unique claim to fame: He's the only man to win a Little League World Series and also have his name etched on the Stanley Cup. After pitching Trumbull to glory in Williamsport in 1989, Drury went on to win the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche (in 2001) and, eventually, earn induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015. Not a bad career, eh?

Todd Frazier (MLB)

When: 1998, Toms River, N.J.

When he went pro: Frazier has had a solid MLB career and currently starts for the Mets at third base. A two-time All-Star and Home Run Derby champion with the Reds, Frazier is still recalled as the ultimate LLWS hero, starting the championship game at shortstop, taking over and eventually winning as pitcher and hitting a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate. It's a feat that will be hard to ever top with anything short of a World Series title.

Gale Gilbert (NFL)

When: 1974, Red Bluff, Calif.

When he went pro: Gilbert developed a much more ignominious claim to fame than Drury: He is the only man to be a member of five consecutive teams that lost in the Super Bowl. A career backup quarterback, Gilbert's football highlights started when he served as the Cal quarterback during the famous game against Stanford when his Bears won on a touchdown stampeding through the Stanford band, then played as Jim Kelly's backup for the four Bills teams that lost in the Super Bowl, as well as the Chargers who fell to the 49ers the following year. Gilbert, whose son Garrett Gilbert is currently an NFL backup quarterback himself, also lost in the LLWS final.

Billy Hunter (NFL)

When: 1955, Delaware Township, N.J.

When he went pro: Remember those Dos Equis (XX) beer commercials that touted being the choice of, "the most interesting man in the world"? Well, that's Billy Hunter in sports. The former wide receiver spent a season each with the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins before turning to a post-playing career in law, earning his law degree at Cal-Berkeley. That led to his second career — as a federal prosecutor — and third as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the organization that negotiates on behalf of NBA players. He was ousted from that role in scandal, but held it for 17 years.

Yusmeiro Petit (MLB)

When: 1994, Coquivacao, Venezuela

When he went pro: Remember how Cassel's California squad reached the LLWS finals and then fell short? Well, Petit was one of the players who beat them. The MLB pitcher later became the first player to win both the LLWS and MLB World Series in a career, taking the later with the San Francisco Giants in 2014. He now toes the rubber for the Oakland Athletics.

Jurickson Profar (MLB)

When: 2004, Willemstad, Curacao

When he went pro: Profar was a huge factor in Curacao's 2004 LLWS victory, blasting a two-run homer as the Willemstad squad captured the title. He returned with the same group a year later, but couldn't take back-to-back crowns. No matter. The wunderkind slugger was signed by the Rangers just four years later and was a stalwart in Arlington for five years before landing with Oakland in the prior offseason. He's now a third baseman for the Athletics.

Colby Rasmus (MLB)

When: 1999, Phenix City, Ala.

When he went pro: Before Rasmus retired following the 2018 season, he was a strong journeyman outfielder who is probably best known for a pair of seasons playing for the Houston Astros. Before that he was a star for the Alabama squad which captured the U.S. crown at the LLWS before falling to a team from Osaka, Japan in 1999. One other fun trivia note? Rasmus was the player selected with the compensatory draft pick the Boston Red Sox sent the St. Louis Cardinals for signing shortstop Edgar Renteria following the 2004 World Series between the two teams.

Jonathan Schoop (MLB)

When: 2004, Willemstad, Curacao

When he went pro: Profar wasn't the only future star on the team from Curacao. Schoop, who is now a power hitting infielder for the Twins, was a power pitcher for the champion Willemstad side, earning the save in the championship game. A 2017 All-Star, he debuted for the Orioles a year after Profar did for the Rangers. Like Profar, he played for two different Curacao teams that played in the LLWS, though he missed the final on his first attempt in 2003 before winning the title in 2004.

Brian Sipe (NFL)

When: 1961, El Cajon, Calif.

When he went pro: Sipe is yet another youth baseball star turned quarterback, still holding the Cleveland Browns franchise marks for most passing yards and touchdowns, as well as the 1980 NFL MVP. Before he was a Pro Bowl passer, Sipe starred for the El Cajon squad that captured the 1961 LLWS, making him the first LLWS champion to later earn a living playing professional sports.

Devon Travis (MLB)

When: 2003, Boynton Beach, Fla.

When he went pro: Travis is only four years into his MLB career, all with the Blue Jays, but the second baseman has an impressive Little League career to lean back on. Travis' Florida team reached the 2003 championship game before falling short. Part of a still young core, Travis hopes to be part of a Blue Jays revival that could reach the World Series in the next few seasons.

More News
About Us Terms & Conditions Disclaimer
Advertise Contact
register and win

NRIS.COM is one of the premier NRI website that provides a range of resourceful services to Indian expats residing in the USA. Visiting the site you will find comprehensive information related to restaurants, casinos, pubs, temples, carpool, movies, education, real estate, and forums. The simple and easy to navigate format allows NRIs to gain information within a fraction of a second. Moreover, advertising through its column of Indian free classifieds in USA allow businesses to improve visibility of their brand.

National NRI's Chat (0 Users Online)