Photos: Little League goes big league

John Beale for ESPN

Every August, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is the mecca for Little League baseball players from around the world who dream of playing professional baseball. This year, those dreamers were treated to a taste of the real thing.

The first MLB Little League Classic showcased divisional rivals the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates for a regular-season game at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

Big league entrance

The Pirates are greeted by players from Reynosa, Mexico, and Jackson, New Jersey, as they deplane at Williamsport Regional Airport.

Signature shoes 

On the bus ride from the airport, Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison asks Little League players to sign the shoes he'll be wearing for the game against the Cardinals that night.

Language lessons

Players from the Guadalupe Trevino Kelly Little League test first baseman Josh Bell's Spanish-language skills.


Leandro Estrada, 3, of Princeton, New Jersey, introduces his stuffed bear to Pirates manage Clint Hurdle in lieu of a handshake.

Just your average fan

Andrew McCutchen takes in the action with players from the Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Little League team of Michigan.

Wacha welcomed

Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha gives low-fives to young fans upon arrival at Lamade Stadium in Williamsport.


The players from Lufkin (Texas) Little League watch batting practice at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

Adopted mascot 

Carlos Martinez props up an inflatable kangaroo from members of the Australia Little League World Series team.

Stand together

Standing with fellow Venezuelans from the Luz-Maracaibo Little League, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jose Martinez greets teammate Randal Grichuk during player introductions.


Pirates players stand at the railing in the dugout, displaying the nicknames on the back of their jerseys as part of MLB's Player Weekend.

Historic night

Little Leaguers and their coaches and families (even the volunteer umpires) get the opportunity to watch major league players during the first MLB Little League Classic.

Autograph hounds

Josh Bell was the hot autograph to get after he drove in four of the Pirates' six runs on the night in the win over the Cardinals.