Playing in the Little Leagues is a cherished memory for fans across the nation. Many of the greatest players in Major League Baseball played in the Little Leagues, too, and remember it just as fondly. Here are some of the current and former pros that played in the Little League.
Infielder Yonny Hernandez: Gran Maracay, 2011
The first player on the list played Little League in his home country of Venezuela before he rose to play in the major leagues in the United States. His Little League World Series game took place in 2011. He played the infield for Gran Maracay against teams from the Netherlands, Canada, and Mexico.
Venezuela dominated against the Netherlands in their first game, six runs to one. They powered through the game against Canada with an astonishing eight runs to zero shutout. The game against Mexico was very close and extremely challenging for both teams. Mexico ended up winning two runs to one.
Yonny Hernandez went on to the Minor Leagues after his time in Little League, playing the second baseman, shortstop, and third baseman positions for the DSL Rangers in the Dominican Republic from 2015 to 2016. He moved on to sign with the Texas Rangers as an international free agent in 2014, playing his first season for them in 2021. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2022. He bats switch and throws right-handed, holding a batting average of .198.
Outfielder Cody Bellinger: Chandler, Arizona, West Region, 2007
Cody Bellinger had the honor of playing for the West Region team during the 2007 Little League World Series. Unfortunately, their first game was also their last. The game was played against the Southeast Region team and ended 16 to six in favor of the Southeast Region team. The Southeast Region team went on to win every game they played during that Little League World Series. Cody Bellinger played first base during his time in the Minor League.
He played for a dizzying array of teams, including the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Glendale Desert Dogs, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Ogden Raptors, and the Tulsa Drillers. He started his time in the major leagues in 2017 and has participated in every season up to 2022, all for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He bats and throws left-handed and has a batting average of .21.
Left Fielder Jurickson Profar: Willemstad, Curacao, 2004
Jurickson Profar is the first player on the list to be a member of the team that won the Little League World Series the year he played it. The Willemstad Curacao team bore Caribbean colors as they triumphed again and again by varying margins. The first game was both politically charged and incredibly close. It was against the team from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, whose participation was protested by the People’s Republic of China. Curacao won that game nine runs to eight. Their next game was against the team from Mexico. Curacao swept the game, winning four runs to none.
The final game of the tournament was against the team from California, which represented the Western Region during the 2004 tournament. Curacao pulled out a win five runs to two in that game, taking home the championship trophy.
Jurickson Profar bats and throws mostly right-handed but is capable of switching things up from time to time. He signed with the Texas Rangers in 2009 as a shortstop. He played for two teams in the Minor Leagues — the Spokane Indians and the Hickory Crawdads. Profar played for the Rangers from 2012 to 2018, after which he was traded to the Oakland Athletics. He played for the Athletics for two years, then was traded to the San Diego Padres. He currently plays for the Padres with a batting average of .251.
Third Baseman Sean Burroughs: Long Beach, California, 1992 and 1993
Sean Burroughs played two Little League World Series games for the team from Long Beach, California. The first was in 1992 and the second was in 1993. The 1992 tournament was round robin format for the quarter-finals bracket section. California won first in their pool against New Jersey, Louisiana, and Illinois. The Illinois game came first. California won it 10 runs to six. Next came the New Jersey game, which they won six to four. The game against Louisiana was very nearly a sweep, seeing California win out a crushing 16 runs to one.
California played the semifinals against New Jersey and won one to zero, then went on to sweep the Philippines team six to zero. This was an exceedingly odd game, as the six runs were not the only reason for the California victory. The Philippines team was investigated for player ineligibility. They were disqualified from the series after the game as a result of the investigation’s findings.
The 1993 Little League World Series was another grand victory for California and a major feather in Sean Burroughs’ cap. During the round-robin quarter-finals, the California team once again led the field, this time against New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia. California swept Ohio eight runs to none in the first game. They had a more challenging one against Virginia in Game 2 but pulled it out 12 to eight in the end.
The third game was a catastrophe for New Hampshire, who lost by 19 runs in a 21 to two split. California played New Hampshire in the semifinals, sweeping them 11 runs to none. They then went on to win a very close one against Panama, taking the game three runs to two.
Sean Burroughs played for the Minor Leagues under the pennants of the San Diego Padres from 1999 to 2002, when he moved up to the major leagues for the same club. He played for the Padres in the major leagues from 2002 to 2005. He played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after being traded for the 2006 season, then played for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 and the Minnesota Twins in 2012.
He is notable for his back and forth playing between the minors and the majors, switching to minors from majors and back again four times after his initial run with the Major League Padres. He can bat and throw left- and right-handed and has a batting average of .278.
Pitcher Vance Lovelace: Tampa, Florida, 1975
The first pitcher and second Dodger on the list, Vance Lovelace, played the Little League World Series way back in 1975. The 1975 Little League World Series was a more humble affair than those of later years, playing host to only New Jersey, California, Iowa, and Florida teams. It is the only Little League World Series that banned all international teams from participation. Florida’s first game, the one against Iowa, went well for them. Florida won eight runs to five. They went on to play New Jersey in the finals, losing to them four runs to three.
Lovelace played for the minor leagues for most of his career, mostly for the California Angels. He played for the Angels in the major leagues in 1988 and 1989, switching to the Seattle Mariners for the 1990 season. He played four more years in the minors after 1990, one year each for Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, and Texas. He batted and threw left-handed and had no batting average.
Outfielder Boog Powell: Lakeland, California, 1954
Boog Powell played in the Little League World Series in 1954 for California. There were no international teams in this tournament either, but not because of a ban. They simply hadn’t been invited in those early years. The Little League World Series had only been going on since 1947 at that point. California did extremely well during the 1954 tournament but ended up losing to New York in the final game. The first game California played was against Virginia, where they won four runs to two.
The second game was nearly swept by California against Illinois at eight runs to one. The final game was lost to New York, seven runs to five. Boog Powell went on to sign with the Baltimore Orioles after leading the International League in home runs. He holds a wide range of accolades, including MVP, four-time All-Star, and two-time World Series player.
He played for Baltimore from 1959 to 1961 in the minor leagues, then switched to their major league team. He played for them from 1961 to 1974, then was traded to the Cleveland Indians. He played for the Indians from 1975 to 1976 and then for the Los Angeles Dodgers for his last season in 1977. He batted left-handed, threw right-handed, and held a .266 batting average.
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