Jason Varitek played Little League, going all the way to the finals of the 1984 LLWS.Photo: Otto Greule, Jr.
Why Williamsport? Simple. That's where Little League founder and Williamsport resident Carl Stotz set up a pre-teen baseball league for local kids back in 1938 (though the first Little League World Series wasn't held until 1947).
More: Brian Sipe on Playing in the LLWS
How does a team get to Williamsport? You mean besides practice, practice, practice? Though routes vary, most squads begin as all-star teams chosen at the local league level after the regular season and eventually must make their way through district, state and regional tournaments until they reach the Little League World Series.
How many regional tournaments are there? There are eight U.S. regional tournaments (West, Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, Great Lakes, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England) and eight international tournaments (Pacific, Latin America, Canada, TransAtlantic Mexico, Asia, Caribbean, and the final region comprising teams in Europe, the Middle East and Africa).
More: Dave Barry on Little League
Making a call to the bullpen. Little League a few years back unveiled pitch count regulations designed to reduce the rate of injuries amongst young pitchers. (See our story on pitch counts for more info) Not only are there pitch restrictions based on age, but the amount of pitches thrown in a given game determines how many days of rest that pitcher must take before throwing again. (No word on limiting breaking balls, but Little League is discussing it as we speak.)
Tired of long Major League games that drag on forever--especially when Steve "The "Human Rain Delay" Trachsel is pitching? Regulation Little League games run six innings, though extra innings can be used to break a tie.
Maybe the Kansas City Royals could use this. The "Mercy Rule" goes into effect when one team goes up by 10 runs after four innings.
Talkin' Beisbol. In 1958 a team from Monterrey, Mexico, became the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series. (One year later they established another precedent by becoming the first team to win consecutive Little League World Series titles).
More: Parent's Guide to Little League All Stars
Rickey Henderson wouldn't have lasted long. Baserunners are not permitted to leave the base until the pitch crosses home plate.
We knew he could throw a base, but this? Future Major League player and manager Lloyd McClendon put on, arguably, the most dominant hitting offensive display at the 1971 Little League World Series when he hit five home runs in five at-bats.
Getting to the show. Notable current pros such as Jason Bay, Jason Varitek and Gary Sheffield all played in the Little League World Series. Yet less than 1 percent of all Major Leaguers actually played Little League.
More: History of the Little League World Series
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