By Pat O'Rourke @patorourke_29 on August 21, 2014
For many Little Leaguers who make it to Williamsport, it is the peak of their athletic lives. We'll find out in the coming years if that was the case with 2014 Little League World Series phenomenon Mo'ne Davis. Here are 10 athletes who prove that Williamsport doesn't have to be the pinnacle.
Gary Sheffield, who participated in the 1980 LLWS, had the most polished major league career of anyone to take the field in Williamsport. Playing 22 seasons, Sheffield was a nine-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger while hitting 509 home runs. He won the 1992 NL batting title and led the Florida Marlins to the 1997 World Series.
Williamsport was the peak of Chris Drury's baseball career, when he led Trumbull (CT) to the championship in 1989, but he went onto have a great hockey career, which included winning the Hobey Baker award and setting career points marks at Boston University. He went onto play a big role in the Colorado Avalanche winning the 2001 Stanley Cup, and later captained the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. He put up 615 points in 892 NHL games.
Matt Cassell represented Northridge (CA) in 1994, and like Drury, was the height of his baseball career. But he went onto have among the best jobs in America -- backup QB at USC before backing up Tom Brady for the New England Patriots. Reality stuck when Brady tore his ACL in 2008, but Cassell stepped up and led the Pats to 11 wins. It helped land him a six-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs that featured million in guaranteed money.
Todd Frazier, who won the 1998 LLWS with Tom's River (NJ), is one of the best young third basemen in baseball. In his third season manning the hot corner for the Reds, he's hitting .281 with 21 home runs and 66 RBI in 2014, in which he represented the the National League at the MLB All-Star Game last month.
Jason Bay, who played for Canada in the 1990 LLWS, played 11 seasons in the big leagues, winning the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year and being named to three All-Star teams.
Carney Lansford, who played in the 1969 Little League World Series, played 15 MLB seasons, winning the 1981 batting title before helping lead the Oakland A's to back-to-back-to-back AL pennants between 1988-90, hitting .336 for Oakland in their championship 1989 season.
While he didn't have a decorated MLB career (.244 career hitter between three teams in eight seasons), Lloyd McClendon -- a participant in the 1971 tournament -- has managed the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners, while being a successful hitting coach in between. He's currently the favorite to win the 2014 AL Manager of the Year race, with his Mariners half a game out of the second Wild Card spot at 68-58.
Jason Varitek backstopped two Boston Red Sox teams to World Series titles (2004, 2007) while becoming the only catcher to call four no-hitters. Before that, however, he played in the 1984 Little League World Series. He is the only person to ever play in the Little League World Series, College World Series (1994) and the MLB World Series.
Pierre Turgeon, who represented Canada in the 1982 Little League World Series, went down the Chris Drury path, choosing hockey over baseball. It wasn't a bad decision either, as he went on to play 19 NHL seasons, recording 1,327 points (515-812) in 1,294 games. He added 97 more points (35-62) in 109 postseason contests.
Lance Lynn played in the 1999 Little League World Series, and has been a staple in the St. Louis Cardinals' starting rotation since 2012. He's made 26 starts for the Red Birds in 2014, going 14-8 with a 2.78 ERA, striking out 144 over 158 2/3 innings.
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