While dozens of Little Leaguers are competing at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., one boy has stood out from the rest: Chad Tulpotski, a slugging 12 year-old first baseman for the team from Flint Bluffs, Mich.
Tulpotski stands 10 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs in at nearly 750 pounds. He is believed to be the biggest player in LLWS history, but he says he sees himself the same as any other player.
“I just want to have fun and play well, just like any other kid here,” said Tulpotski, his booming voice rattling a pitcher of water off a nearby table. “A lot of people start to cry in fear or mess their pants when they see me, but after a while they realize I’m like a normal kid.”
Tulpotski’s mother, Debbie, who raises the man-child as a single mom, says her son has always been bigger than his peers.
“He was 44 inches and 58 pounds at birth,” said Debbie Tulpotski. “Pushing him out was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Some of the doctors and nurses had to leave the room and throw up. But it was totally worth it to get him. My Chad is such a sweet boy.”
Coach Dale Shepper said he has to remember that despite Chad’s size, he still has to manage him as though he is a boy.
“It’s easy to forget sometimes that Chad is a kid,” said Shepper. “He’s not a grown man. If he strikes out, you know, he still cries. Huge tears. Huge friggin’ tears. You should see them. They’re like bowling balls of water. I, of course, feel bad for him when it happens, but it sure is something to see. He can muddy up the whole field with just a few tears. It’s remarkable.”
Mrs. Tulpotski just wants her son to enjoy his LLWS experience.
“I want him to have fun and treasure every second,” she said. “Because once we get home, I finally agreed to turn him over to the government for testing. As a single mom, I can’t afford to feed him anymore. It was my only option. This is probably his last week of having a real childhood before years of undergoing weird experiments.”
Coach Shepper’s eyes brightened upon hearing about the boy’s future: “Oh, man. You’re going to get to see him cry.”