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Lafayette Drillers Flashback: Jeff Little

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

 

The Lafayette Drillers, a Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, called Lafayette, Louisiana their home for two years, from 1975-1976.

The Drillers, who played their home games at Clark Field, were co-champions of the Texas League in 1975 with the Midland Cubs, finishing 72-57, before going 58-76 in 1976, the last year of affiliated professional baseball in Lafayette.

A number of outstanding players, who eventually made it into Major League Baseball ranks played at Clark Field in 1975 & 1976, including five former Lafayette Driller players.

All summer long, we’re taking a look back at some of the former players for the Drillers.

Today, Jeff Little.

Little was a starting pitcher for the Drillers during both the 1975 and 1976 seasons.

A native of Fremont, Ohio, Little went to Woodmore High School in Elmore, Ohio, before being drafted in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the San Francisco Giants in 1972.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Little pitched only 222 innings of professional baseball before joining the Drillers in 1975.

With Lafayette, Little had a largely disappointing season in ’75, going 5-12, with a 5.40 earned run average.

In 115 innings pitched, Little allowed 143 hits, 69 earned runs, and 53 walks, while striking out 59 hitters.

Little was a workhorse though, finishing third on the team in starts, and fourth in innings pitched, and it’s unlikely the team would have captured a Texas League co-championship without his contributions

The right-hander returned to Lafayette in 1976, going 4-9 with a 4.91 ERA.

Keep in mind, that the minor league are more about progressing than about statistics, and Little progressed after his time in Lafayette, in a major way, making it to Major League Baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1980, going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. over seven games.

Back in the minors in 1981, Little made in back to the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins in 1982, going 2-0 with a 4.21 ERA. over 33 appearances.

Little had the size, the make-up, and stuff to make it to the big leagues, and after some early struggles, he put it together and did just that.

 

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