Pin Highlight: 2022 Little League World Series Grand Slam Parade

The 2022 Little League World Series kicks off tonight with the Grand Slam Parade. Games start on August 17th.

The Downtown Festival begins at 4:00 p.m., and the parade starts at 5:30 p.m. New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera will serve as the Grand Marshal.

Collectible lapel pins are a main draw for Little League fans. I began to see some 2022 pins show up as early as mid-July. Many more will follow as the week goes on.

Here is what the 2022 Little League World Series Grand Slam Parade pin looks like for this year.

People who are on the parade committee receive a special pin.

Pin Highlight: 2022 Little League International Congress Pins

For the first time since 1989 the Little League International Congress will be held in Williamsport, PA June 10-13, 2022.

What is the Little League International Congress? Held every 4 years, the Little League International Congress brings together volunteer District Administrators (along with many other Little League officials) in an effort to help improve the Little League program. Various rule and regulation changes are voted on among other items of business.

Pins and Little League go together like peanut butter and jelly. Most of the individuals who attend the Little League International Congress are pin collectors. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if lots of people bring their own pins along to do some trading.

The Little League Store in Williamsport has a few new pins made for the 2022 Congress.

During the late 1800’s Williamsport was known for being the “Lumber Capital of the World”. At one point in time Williamsport had more millionaires per-capita than anywhere in the world. This is why Little League’s mascot Dugout is seen dressed as a lumberjack. Nothing is more frightening than a chipmunk/beaver hybrid swinging a baseball bat with an axe head mounted on the end.

Pin Highlight: 1998 Little League World Series Honda Sponsor Pin

Taking place between August 23-29 was the 1998 Little League World Series in South Williamsport, PA. Toms River, NJ took Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan to the cleaners winning the championship game. Future MLB All-Star and Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier was on the Toms River team. He went 4-4 with a lead-off home run, and was also the winning pitcher.

Pins have always been a huge part of the Little League World Series. Even when the games were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 corporate sponsors and local businesses released pins. Each Little League World Series brings a new wave of pins to collect. Without an official pin checklist it makes the hunt even more exciting.

Honda has been a sponsor of Little League for over 20 years. Their corporate booth on the Little League campus is constantly busy when the World Series is taking place. Eager collectors lineup early in order to get their hands on the latest Honda pins.

One of the most coveted Little League pins was released by Honda in 1998. Due to a lot of rain, Honda decided to pack up early and go home. Before doing so they handed out only a few hundred of their pins. Those factors have led this pin to become very rare. On the secondary market these have been known to reach close to $300.

Pin Highlight: 2020 Little League World Series ESPN Robo Cam Pin

Thanks to COVID-19 the 2020 Little League World Series did not take place. That certainly didn’t stop individuals and businesses from making their pins for fans to collect.

Pins have been a big part of the Little League World Series for years. Some of the more desirable pins come from various people who work for ESPN. When, where, and who distributes them is a total mystery to me. They just seem to popup and find their way into circulation.

A staple ESPN pin that seems to comeback year to year are the ones in the shape of the robo cams. The pin pictured below is what would have been making it’s rounds at the Little League World Series in 2020.

What makes this pin so special is the logo. This is the only pin that I’ve seen which contains the logo which would have been used for the 2020 Little League World Series. Usually the Little League store would sell logo merchandise, but they did very little of that last year. No pins for sure. Little League chose to use the same logo for 2021. The main difference is the year change.

Two of these pins have popped up for sale so far. Both auctions could easily have been for the exact same pin, and sold for close to $50 each time.

Pin Highlight: Lawrence Taylor vs. Joe Theismann – Spring-Loaded Leg Break Pin

Monday Night Football.  November 18, 1985.  Redskins vs. Giants.  Football historians remember this game all because of one play.  Washington’s quarterback Joe Theismann was sacked by linebacker Lawrence Taylor.  While falling to the ground, Taylor’s knee drove right into Theismann’s lower right leg.  As you can imagine, Theismann’s leg snapped like a twig.  The compound fracture forced him to retire at age 36.  Even though Taylor has apologized numerous times, Theismann has never blamed him for the career ending injury.

Little to no officially licensed merchandise depicting this iconic injury can be found.  Its not uncommon for cards to feature both players.  Photos of the play are the main item you’ll find.

Many years ago I came across this pin on eBay.  There are no team names/logos, player names, or anything to officially connect the Giants, Redskins, Lawrence Taylor, or Joe Theismann to it.  But just looking at it we all know what’s going on.  The player who is suppose to be Joe Theismann even has a spring-loaded leg to recreate the classic break.

Who made this pin?  How many were made?  Who distributed them?  These are all great questions.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers.  This is the only one I’ve seen.

Pin Highlight: Nolan Ryan & Robin Ventura – Courage, Loyalty, Character – Brawl Pin

Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura had very successful baseball careers.  Each has numerous awards next to their name.  Mention both in the same sentence though and one moment comes to mind – August 4, 1993.

Robin Ventura got an RBI single off of Ryan in the first-inning that day.  Later on, White Sox pitcher Alex Fernandez hit Juan Gonzalez.  When Ventura came up to bat again in the third, Ryan hit him in the upper arm.  Ventura took a few steps toward first and then charged the mound.  For some reason, Ventura decided to slow down as he got closer to Ryan.  That gave Nolan Ryan the extra time to get his glove off.  Despite being twenty years older than Robin Ventura, Nolan Ryan put up a great fight.

The image of Nolan Ryan holding Robin Ventura in a headlock is iconic.  Signed photos containing this image make for a fun conversation piece.

This pin comes from a Little League district in California.  The yin-yang symbol on Nolan Ryan’s arm indicates that.  You have to laugh at the irony of a pin that encourages courage, loyalty, and character while depicting two grown athletes fighting.

Pin Highlight: 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Press Pin

Whether its pure laziness or just an effort to pinch pennies, pins handed out to the press for specific sporting events many times look quite similar to the ones you’d purchase at the souvenir stands.  This can result in mass-produced pins being sold as their much harder to come by press pin counterparts.  A good example of this can be seen when it comes to the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four pin.

Press pin

Mass-produced pin

At a quick glance you can see how someone might mistake one version for another.  The NCAA logo on the mass-produced pin has silver coloring around the letters “NCAA”.  The press pin does not have this, just white lettering.  A solid silver-colored ring also circles the entire blue NCAA logo on the mass-produced pin.  The silver-colored ring fades out near the top of the circle on the pin issued to the press.  Looking at the font used for “2015” and “INDIANAPOLIS” you’ll see some major differences.  The mass-produced pin’s is thicker and plain white whereas the press pin font is thinner and a shiny metal color.  Those spikes on the left-side are a bit sharper on the mass-produced pin as well.

When it comes to press pins its important to know what you’re buying.  The price difference can be significant.

Pin Highlight: Taber Museum – The Haunted Portrait Of Nellie Tallman – 2019 Little League Pin

The 2019 Little League World Series is right around the corner.  Its only a matter of time until visitors from all over the world flood Williamsport, PA and the surrounding areas.  Along with them will come tons and tons of Little League pins to buy, sell, and trade.

Little League’s official store has already begun selling pins for the 2019 games.  Even some of the pins made by the local businesses have started to surface.  Pins from Legal Insites, Tebbs Farms, and the Taber Museum have all been spotted.  Many more are on the way.

The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society showcases artifacts that pertain to the region’s local history.  Each time I attend a Williamsport Crosscutters game I drive past it.  You can’t miss it, because of the lumberjack statue standing outside.

Pins sold by the Taber Museum usually mix baseball with local history.  Their 2019 pin focuses on the haunted portrait of Nellie Tallman.  When Nellie Tallman was 3-1/2 years old her father, an artist, decided to paint a portrait of his daughter.  What should have been a nice father daughter moment quickly turned tragic.  Little Nellie fell out of her high chair, and broke her neck resulting in her death.

John Tallman completed the portrait.  Shortly thereafter something strange began to happen.  The framed piece kept falling off of the wall.  Eventually it was donated to the Taber Museum.  While there, it fell multiple times as well.  To this day Nellie Tallman’s portrait hangs in the Taber Museum across from a painting by her father’s teacher, Severin Roesen.  It seems to have found peace there… for now.  I wouldn’t move it.  Many believe her spirit is attached to that portrait.

Cool or creepy?  Possibly the scariest Little League pin ever made.