Remembering The OG Little League World Series Savage: Danny Almonte
By: Alex Marcheschi
Danny Almonte was a savage before the word even entered into the American lexicon. If you don’t know about Danny, let me give you a quick explanation.
(RIP Stuart Scott)
Danny Almonte played in the 2001 Little League World Series for a team from The Bronx, NY, which in itself is pretty amazing. The Bronx isn’t exactly the easiest place to grow up, this team was full of scrappy kids who didn’t give a shit. They played in the shadows of Yankee Stadium, so his team’s nickname was the “Baby Bombers.” Boom. Right there that’s already a top 5 sports team nickname ever. I was in, completely in. I was also like 9-years-old.
Almonte was a living legend, very few kids could even time up their swings well enough to look good striking out. He was throwing pitches at the equivalent of 103 mph…he was basically like a child Aroldis. One wild pitch and a kid could’ve legit died.
He earned the nickname “The Little Unit” after Randy Johnson’s “Big Unit” nickname. He threw the first perfect game in Little League play since 1979. He was must-see TV and the entire nation was all-in because the LLWS always happens in the dead zone right before football starts.
His team wasn’t even that great offensively, but he was such a dominant pitcher that it didn’t matter. They didn’t win the tournament, but they stole the show. He gave up three hits and one run in three starts. Everything was coming up golden for Danny.
The only problem was that he didn’t really look 12…and that was the age limit. He looked more like a 14-year-old, because, well, he was one.
I genuinely don’t think he knew it though, he didn’t even speak English and his dad was an intense dude. His father, Felipe, was the type of degenerate father who would mold his son’s life like Play-Doh if it meant stardom and money. I can’t blame him, it was an elaborate plan to get out of poverty, and it came very close to working.
However, a Little League team from Staten Island hired a private investigator (bitch move) and they dove into Danny’s life and found that he was indeed too old for the LLWS. Welcome to Buzz Kill City, USA. I’m all for letting cheaters cheat, because if you still get the win it’s like a trillion percent more satisfying, and if the cheater actually wins there’s like a 90% chance they get outed nowadays. It’s a win/win.
I still think about what it would’ve been like if the Almontes got away with it. I genuinely think Danny would be pitching for the Astros or some shit right now if no one snitched. Can someone beat the system for me one time?
The whole ordeal did damage on Danny, it was rumored that he started dating a much older woman. It was true. Six years after the tournament people were still interested in his life, someone unearthed that he was married to a 30-year-old woman (nice?). He let himself go a little bit, but who wouldn’t?
ESPN even released a 30 For 30 Short about it, which can be viewed below. It’s worth it if you’re bored.
I love the Little League World Series, such a nice little appetizer before football starts. I’ll take the LLWS over the real one 10/10 times. I’m all in on Team Canada this year, kids have fuckin’ SWAG.