The Little League World Series is August 18-28. Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier relives his memories of the 1998 title game.
When I was a kid, I played with my brothers and their friends. I went from being the last one picked to being the first. I had to step up my game and my level of competition.
My brother played in the 1995 Little League World Series, and I had two of my buddies with me at those games. I said, "Guys, this is where we want to be." We laughed at the time, but that's exactly what we wanted to do. Eventually we got there and we became the Beasts of the East.
I remember the last game in 1998. It was unbelievable. It was one of the most memorable finals because there were so many runs scored, and I was the winning pitcher. That's something they can never take away from me.
One of the cooler moments was when we met [former New York Yankees outfielder] Paul O'Neill before the game, which was a thrill to me because he was my idol. After the game, we met with the Yankees. I stood next to Derek Jeter; they put us together by our positions, and I also played shortstop. I got to meet one of the greatest players of all time, and I eventually met Jeter again in the 2014 All-Star game, my first and his last.
I think the best part of that '98 World Series was bringing it home to New Jersey. I represent where I'm from no matter what. I have a good fanbase at home, and I want kids there to strive to be better than I am one day.
You get to meet major leaguers and stand on the field and you're like, "Gosh, I hope one day this can be me." And then it really was. Not many people can say their dreams came true.
—as told to Kellen Becoats
Photos: Rusty Kennedy (celebration), Tom Szczerbowsky/Getty Images (with White Sox), courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball (pitching as a kid)