On Monday, May 25, the Seattle Mariners traveled to the Tampa Bay Rays for the first of a three-game series. With Lloyd McClendon facing off against Kevin Cash, as managers, it was the first time that two Little League Baseball® World Series participants faced off as MLB managers.
Mr. McClendon earned his nickname of Legendary Lloyd at the 1971 Little League® World Series, going 5 for 5 with five home runs during the tournament – he was walked every other time he came to bat. He finished with 10 total plate appearances with 10 RBI, five home runs, and five intentional walks. His team from Gary, Ind., became the first all-African American team to win the U.S. Championship, eventually falling in the World Series Championship game to Taiwan. Mr. McClendon was enshrined in the Little League Hall of Excellence in 2006. ESPN produced a vignette on Mr. McClendon’s Little League experience as part of Little League’s 75th Anniversary Celebrations in 2014.
Mr. Cash didn’t quite have the legendary experience that McClendon had, but went 2 for 7 in the 1989 World Series with a double and two runs scored. His team from Northside Little League in Tampa finished the series with a 2-1 record. The 1989 Little League Baseball World Series was later won behind the pitching performance of future NHL Star, Chris Drury, now a Little League International Board of Directors Member. The MLB did a great story on Mr. Cash’s return to his Little League roots.
Since the first Little League Baseball World Series was played in 1947, there have been countless participants who have gone on to great baseball careers, and 45 have gone on to play Major League Baseball, including Mr. McClendon and Mr. Cash. Many of them have gone on to play in the MLB World Series, including most recently, Yusmeiro Petit (San Francisco Giants, 2014), and two have participated in the Little League World Series, College World Series, and MLB World Series (Ed Vosberg and Jason Varitek). There are currently 11 Little League Baseball World Series graduates on MLB rosters, including Todd Frazier, Lance Lynn, Devon Travis, Randall Grichuk, and Johnathan Schoop.
Little League graduates have had many great moments in the MLB stadiums, and history was made when Mr. McClendon and Mr. Cash faced off at Tropicana Field on Memorial Day.