George Brett, whose 20-year career with the Kansas City Royals landed him in the baseball Hall of Fame, has been chosen to receive Little League Baseball’s William A. “Bill” Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award for 2000.
The award, established in 1987, annually goes to a former Little Leaguer in the Major Leagues who best exemplifies the spirit of Little League Baseball. Consideration includes the individual’s ability, accomplishments and status as a positive role model for aspiring Little Leaguers. A graduate of the El Segundo, Calif., American Little League, Mr. Brett remembers his Little League experience as a time of fun and as the first time he was part of a team.
“When I played Little League, it wasn’t something you did because your parents wanted you to do it or because it was your job: It was fun,” he said recently. “It’s the first time you’re out there with eight other guys. That teaches you the value of winning and losing graciously. I don’t even remember where I hit in the line-up, but when I played it was fun.”
In 1999, Mr. Brett was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., with the fourth highest vote total in history. While Mr. Brett’s baseball achievements are the stuff of legends, his commitment to the community of Kansas City has been equally impressive. He has used his high profile to raise millions of dollars for research into a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He also became known for generously offering items for charity events and frequently signing autographs.
Mr. Brett becomes the 13th recipient of the Distinguished Graduate award. A plaque in his honor will hang in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Baseball Museum on Route 15 in South Williamsport, Pa. Mr. Brett is expected to attend ceremonies recognizing him Saturday, Aug. 26, at noon at the museum.