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San Mateo National Little League History & Mission

San Mateo National Little League ("SMNLL") has been serving our community since 1955. Some great athletes began their baseball careers and excelled within our league over our long history, including Tom Brady, Nick Vanos, and many others who went on to play baseball at the high school and collegiate levels. 

The core mission of SMNLL throughout the years is a commitment to providing the best baseball experience possible for our:

  • Players by teaching the fundamentals of baseball, as well as the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship
  • Families, by providing a safe, positive and fun baseball experience at an affordable cost
  • Coaches, by supporting their efforts to provide the highest standard of positive coaching appropriate for each age group
  • Community, by being an active par of San Mateo through our outreach to families, schools and local businesses

SMNLL is about creating winners, not necessarily reflected on the scoreboard, but from using the baseball experience to teach our players the importance of hard work, commitment, being a good teammate, and how to be effective leaders. All of these skill sets are important skills in athletic and outside of the playing field. 

SMNLL is chartered under Little League Inc. of Williamsport, PA and is subject to all rules and regulations contained in their Official Rule Book and Operating Policies. 

Annual Spring 12 Year-Old Awards

Nick Vanos Award

The 1988 SMNLL season was dedicated to the memory of Nick Vanos (4/13/63 -8/16/87), the inspiring young center/forward of the NBA Phoenix Suns and member of the 1973-1975 SMNLL Astros. Every year since then, the Nick Vanos award has been awarded to the player (voted on by the Majors Division coaches and players) who best exemplifies the style of play and personal character of Nick Vanos. 

Nick grew up in San Mateo, attended St. Gregory's Catholic School and played both baseball and basketball. As a kid, Nick was always looked up to, not only because he stood well over six feet tall as a 12 year-old, but morso because his demeanor warranted such respect. Nick continued playing baseball in San Mateo's Babe Ruth league, but stuck with basketball at Hillsdale High School and continued his basketball career at Santa Clara University. Nick was drafted by the Phoenix Suns upon graduating from Santa Clara in 1985. Nick's life was tragically ended too soon just after completing two seasons in the NBA. 

Bret Pietsehker, Nick's former SMNLL Astros coach, fondly remembers Nick as a tall, lanky young man with a shy smile and a friendly manner towards everyone he met. A giant in stature, as well as in spirit. He was a kid that was respected and admired by everyone he came across. 

Recent winners of the Nick Vanos Award include:

2023 - Emilio Trujillo

2022 - Henry Quaresma

2021 - Jackson Snodgrass

2019 - Alejandro Formosa

2018 - Sam Young

Don Catalano MVP Award

Don Catalano was one of the early founders of SMNLL. In 1963, Don helped bring the first District Championship to San Mateo National. Throughout the years, Don served as a coach, manager, and member of the league's Board of Directors. 

Don's greatest skill was teaching kids how to play baseball. His style of teaching basic, sound and fundamental baseball included a code of strict discipline that kept each player focused on playing the game correctly. 

Don passed away just prior to the start of the 1992 season. In memory of his service to the children of our community, SMNLL named its annual MVP in his honor. The winner of the award is selected by Majors players. 

Recent winners of the MVP Award include:

2023 - Gavin Thompson

2022 - Will Trimborn

2021 - Curtis Lee

2019 - Noah Greenspan

2018 - Jordan Minahan

2023 Nick Vanos Award Winner Emilio Trujillo with 2022 winner Henry Quaresma

2023 Don Catalano (MVP) Award Winner Gavin Thompson with 2022 MVP Will Trimborn