Tulsa Little League player honored with National Sportsmanship Award

A Tulsa minor leaguer who drew international attention for an act of sportsmanship is receiving new recognition.

On August 9, Isaiah Jarvis and the rest of his Tulsa team battled it out in the Southwest Region Championship, airing on ESPN. A trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and the Little League World Series was on the line. Isaiah was at the plate when East Texas pitcher Kaiden Shelton lost control of a pitch and hit Isaiah in the head.

To everyone’s surprise, Isaiah got up again. What happened next touched hearts around the world.

Isaiah noticed that Kaiden was crying. Worried that he had hurt him, Isaiah left first base, walked over and gave Kaiden a hug.

The moment went viral almost immediately. In November, the St. Louis Sports Commission honored Isaiah with a Musial Award.

“It’s an honor, it really is an honor,” Isaiah said.

“I didn’t know what it was,” Isaiah admitted. “However, he was excited, because he was going to be able to go to St. Louis.”

The Musial Awards began in 2005 and are named after the great Cardinal Stan Musial. The awards honor the greatest acts of sportsmanship annually.

Past winners include Wayne Gretzky, Hank Aaron, and Cal Ripken, Jr.

The awards also honor amateur athletes, like the cross country runner, who, in 2012, stopped and carried her fallen competitor to the finish line, dropping herself to 15th place.

This year, Isaiah is being honored with 13 others.

Like former NFL player Warrick Dunn, American speed skater Brittany Bowe, and the biggest name of the night, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Albert Pujols—someone Isaiah was determined to meet.

“I’m excited, but I’m excited to see how big he is,” Isaiah said of Pujols. “People say it’s huge.”

Before the show, Isaiah, dressed in a new suit, complete with a mullet that took months to grow out, walked the red carpet like a pro. After stopping for an interview and taking a few photos, Isaiah made a beeline for the future hall of famer.

“Nice to meet you; my name is Isaiah Jarvis,” he told Pujols.

Other kids also stopped for a photo and autograph, including a kid who flew to St. Louis to present Isaiah with the award: the pitcher who hit him, Kaiden Shelton.

“I’m glad I get to experience this,” Kaiden said. “Not many people get to experience it.”

Although they live in different states, the two boys have struck up a friendship.

At the ceremony, the two were honored first, to a round of applause that brought everyone to their feet. The recognition isn’t something Isaiah expected when he left first base four months ago.

“I was just trying to show God’s love through me and help him take it away,” Isaiah said. “Treat others how you want to be treated and do the right thing all the time.”

The Musial Awards will be broadcast on Channel 6 at 4 pm on Christmas Eve.