Before the two teams in the 2013 Little League World Series championship game got down to business on the field, the youth organization honored two former Little Leaguers - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Harlan Coben, New York Times best-selling author - by inducting them into the Hall of Excellence.
Christie and Coben were teammates during their playing time in the Livingston American Little League in the mid-1970s. Christie's father, Bill, was their coach. Although their paths would go in different directions professionally, Coben joked that while Christie became governor, he makes a living "making things up."
Stephen D. Keener, president and CEO of Little League, explained that those in the Hall of Excellence have made a commitment to excellence both during and after their Little League careers. He added that it was the highest honor given to a former player by the youth organization.
Coben has more than 50 million books in print worldwide, with his last six novels debuting as No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
After serving as the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, Christie became the 55th governor of New Jersey in 2010.
Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, chairwoman of the Little League International Board of Directors, announced that the two men became the first set of Little League teammates to be inducted into the Hall of Excellence together in the history of the honor.
Christie said that among the great memories in life, this was one of them.
Coben added that Little League taught him that there is no success without first learning failure. He added that some of his best memories of his playing career was playing catch with his father in the backyard.
Both men expressed their pleasure in finally making it to the World Series after dreaming of playing there during their Little League careers.
"I never thought I would actually ever be on this field," Coben said.
"I've been waiting 40 years to get on this field. ... I finally got here," Christie said when he was introduced pregame.
Coben and Christie became the 46th and 47th enshrinees in the Hall of Excellence.