Photo by Michael Johnson
Two-time Little League World Series champion Sean Burroughs is currently a third baseman for the Rochester Red Wings, where the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is hitting .283 with 43 hits, 15 RBIs, 13 runs scored and 10 extra base hits.
Burroughs relishes Little League memories
ROCHESTER — Raise your hand if you’re 12-years-old and would like to play baseball long after the Little League season comes to a close.
It can be done.
Just ask Rochester Red Wings first baseman Sean Burroughs, a two-time Little League World Series champion.
“I have fond memories of Little League,” Burroughs said before last Sunday’s Red Wings game against Charlotte. “It’s pure baseball, you got to hang out with your buddies. We were a beach team, so there were other important things for us, like going to the beach, skateboarding, hanging out with friends. Then, we’d show up at six o’clock and play the ball game and beat people up.”
The Burroughs-led Long Beach team won back-to-back Little League titles in 1992 and 1993.
The 1992 win came by default after the Zamboanga City team was found using ineligible players who did not meet age or residency requirements.
Long Beach beat Danville San Ramon Valley 5-2 in the title game in the ’93 series.
The wins made Burroughs a temporary celebrity, even going as far as making an appearance on David Letterman.
“We were so young,” Burroughs said. “I mean, we were playing in front of 40,000 people in that final game and we didn’t really realize it. You are only 12 and you don’t know what’s going to happen in your life, much less in baseball.”
Burroughs’ father, Jeff Burroughs, the former 1974 AL MVP with the Texas Rangers, coached Long Beach.
“He wasn’t one of those grinders that made me take 1000 swings,” Burroughs said of his dad. “(He’d say) first and foremost to have fun. If you aren’t having fun, don’t play.”
After playing in Little League, Burroughs was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2002 straight out of high school. Since then, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays before taking a three-year hiatus from baseball.
But he credits his Little League background to some of his success as a big-leaguer.
“It taught me a hard work ethic and to try and maximize what you can do,” said Burroughs. “You have to know your strengths and improve your weaknesses. You’ll do some things great and some other things not so great. Once you realize that, once you stop trying to be a person you’re not, it can help you as a ball player, as a person and as a member of society. (Little League) instilled hard work and never giving up.”
This season with the Wings, Burroughs is hitting .283 with 43 hits and 15 RBIs.
He knows that, like him, Little Leaguers are looking for the opportunity to play baseball for the rest of their lives and he offers advice for those kids who want to continue with the sport.
“I probably wouldn’t have eaten as many pizzas and cheeseburgers,” he jokes. “But seriously, I try to keep it simple. Once I started over thinking things, I’d get in a slump or make errors or do something stupid like that. You have to enjoy it. Play a lot of positions and just have fun. You only get to do it once, relish in your young years. Time flies.”
District qualifiers for 11- and 12-year-olds start this week.
The Little League Baseball World Series begins Thursday, Aug. 16 in Williamsport.
The U.S. and International championship games will be Saturday, Aug. 25, with the title game scheduled for the following day.
The Little League International Tournament is open to any chartered league in the United States and more than 80 other countries. More than 7,000 teams, approximately 6,500 of those teams in the U.S., begin the tournaments in the Little League Baseball division. About 6,500 are eliminated in the first three weeks of play. About 45,000 games are played in eight divisions leading up to the various World Series tournaments. More than 16,000 of those games are played in the Little League division, the equivalent of more than six Major League Baseball seasons.