There were two major-league teams on the field Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field, but the Jackie Robinson West All-Star Little League team stole the spotlight.
Before Game 2 of the White Sox-Tigers doubleheader, the United States champions from the South Side of Chicago were celebrated for their rousing success at the Little League World Series.
Jackie Robinson West ran the bases at the Cell, posed for pictures with the Sox and mingled with Detroit's Torii Hunter and the White Sox' Adam Eaton.
The Little League heroes also watched as former Sox manager Tony LaRussa was honored before the game.
"It's crazy because he (LaRussa) is a Hall of Famer and we're just some regular kids that made it to Williamsport," Trey Hondras said. "I'm real happy. I'm excited we're on this field and get to job around and see the players. It's real exciting."
Jackie Robinson West will be at Wrigley Field on Monday. Before leaving the Cell, each Little Leaguer received a jersey autographed by every member of the White Sox, a backpack with $100 worth of school supplies and a copy of "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season."
The Sox also presented Jackie Robinson West Little League with a check for $20,000.
"It's been great because they're from the city of Chicago," JRW manager Darold Butler said. "It's a great thing. A lot of the players' favorite players are Chicago White Sox so it's a beautiful thing. I'm glad the White Sox are showing so much love and I'm super proud of the guys."
It has been a super summer for Jackie Robinson West.
After becoming the first African-American Little League team to win the U.S. championship in Williamsport, Pa., before falling to South Korea in the World Series title game, Jackie Robinson West was honored with a parade and celebration at Millennium Park last Wednesday.
The team is also heading to the Cubs game on Monday and Disney World on Friday.
"I think we've been trying to rest, but it's not working," Butler said. "I think I'm on four hours of sleep every day now because of all the activities and all the things they have going on. But anything for these guys. I'm willing to do anything I need to do just for these guys."
Jackie Robinson West's crowning achievement is showing there is more to the South Side then violence.
"We just heard (White Sox executive vice president) Kenny Williams tell each and every one of the players that they are role models, really for all kinds of kids across America," Gov. Pat Quinn said. "They did us all proud in how they played the game. They inspired our whole state, our whole country really, with the way they played, the composure. They weren't yelling at the umpires. They played the game and they did it right.
"I really feel this is an opportunity for all of us to invest more in youth sports and programs that help kids after school on the weekends in the summer. We really have to take a lesson from JRW."
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