The legend of the only Michigan team to win the Little League World Series


Only one Michigan team in history has won the Little League World Series.

And it was run by a boy who some consider the most legendary player in Little League history.

It was 1959 when Hamtramck and star pitcher Art “Pinky” Deras won the title.

How good was Deras? Consider these statistics from the Polish-American National Sports Hall of Fame.

* He started 18 games and won them all without the help of a relief pitcher.

* He threw 10 hits, 16 shutouts and 298 strikeouts – only 26 strikeouts were made by his defensive players – while walking just 10 in 108 innings.

* And he produced .641 with 33 homers – including 13 in 13 playoff games – while leading by 112 points.

His exploits this season culminated in the documentary film “The Legend of Pinky Deras” and there is a Facebook page called the same thing. The movie was nominated for a Michigan Emmy in the Best Historical Documentary category.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus even greeted Deras, who stood up 6 feet tall at 12 years old, during spring training this year.

In the 1959 LLWS Finals, Hamtramck dominated his opponents 24-1, winning the championship with a 12-0 victory over California after beating Puerto Rico 5-0 in the quarter-finals and Hawaii 7-1 in the semi-finals. -final.

Hamtramck never hung out in any of these games. Deras threw a hit with 17 strikeouts against Puerto Rico, hit a grand slam against Hawaii and threw a three-hit in the championship game, according to the Polish Sports Hall of Fame.

Two years after the LLWS victory, Deras led Hamtramck to the World Pony League crown. No wonder a street bears his name in Hamtramck.

Although he never played in Major League Baseball, Deras spent five seasons in the minors before joining the Army Reserve in 1968, according to The Hamtramck Review. He then became a police officer in Warren for 30 years before retiring in 2001.

Today, honors continue to flow for the 1959 champions, who were inducted into the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame This year.

If Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores succeeds, the legendary Hamtramck team will have company this year in Little League tradition.

The Grosse Pointe team represent Michigan in the Great Lakes region and must win today if they hope to move forward in their quest to play in the 16-team Little League World Series which kicks off August 17 at Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The team is 1-1 with a loss to Ohio and a win over Indiana. They play at 5 p.m. today against Kentucky in the regional quarterfinal at Grand Sports Campus Park in Westfield, Ind.

A victory would push Grosse Pointe into the semi-finals at 5 p.m. Friday against the loser of today’s game between Ohio and Illinois. A loss means elimination as Grosse Pointe lost 10-2 Monday to Ohio.

The regional championship match is set for Saturday.

Joey Randazzo was Grosse Pointe’s leading hitter in two regional games. He’s 3-for-6 with a double and two homers, both in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Indiana.

Matthew Greene hit a two-run homerun against Indiana while pitching a perfect sixth inning for a save. Jack Jones, who is 2-for-6 in the regional, was the winning pitcher after allowing six hits, striking out 11 and walking none in five innings.

Joseph Wisniewski is 2-for-5 in both regional games.

Joey Randazzo scored twice for Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over Indiana in the Little League World Series in Westfield, Indiana.


About Dwayne Wakefield

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