Main League Baseball (MLB), the Main League Baseball Gamers Affiliation (MLBPA) and Corridor of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. collectively introduced Tuesday the launch of the “HBCU Swingman Traditional,” an annual All-Star expertise for baseball student-athletes from Division-I applications at Traditionally Black Faculties & Universities (HBCU). The philanthropic & instructional occasion, which can focus on an “All-Star” Recreation, shall be held throughout 2023 MLB All-Star Week in July at T-Cellular Park, house of the Seattle Mariners, the franchise for which Griffey Jr. performed for 13 seasons throughout his legendary profession.
The HBCU Swingman Traditional, which shall be powered by the MLB-MLBPA Youth Growth Basis, will spotlight the historical past and legacy of HBCU baseball applications whereas additionally offering 50 HBCU baseball gamers with the chance to showcase their expertise on a nationwide stage. The scholar-athletes shall be chosen by a committee that can embrace Griffey Jr., representatives from MLB and MLBPA, and scouts. Further particulars concerning the HBCU Swingman Traditional shall be introduced within the months forward.
Griffey Jr., who’s an Ambassador for the MLB-MLBPA Youth Growth Basis, mentioned: “I’m excited to assist these youngsters get the nationwide consideration that they don’t obtain in comparison with different faculty baseball applications. Through the years, now we have seen the decline of African American gamers, not as a result of they don’t need to play, however reasonably as a result of they haven’t been seen. School scholarships for baseball usually are not comparative to different sports activities, and a whole lot of households can not afford to pay the distinction. So, this effort is the trade coming collectively to present these youngsters a possibility to play the sport they love on the nationwide stage. Monetary restrictions forestall them from going to colleges that give extra publicity. The HBCU Swingman Traditional will try to shut that hole.”
“Main League Baseball is thrilled to proceed to work alongside Ken Griffey Jr. and the MLB-MLBPA Youth Growth Basis to deliver this groundbreaking occasion to MLB All-Star Week,” mentioned Tony Reagins, Chief Baseball Growth Officer, MLB. “Highlighting the expertise at HBCU Baseball applications is a vital a part of how we join with faculty baseball whereas additionally bettering African American illustration in any respect ranges of our sport. We’re excited to supply this chance to those gamers and for our followers to witness this new All-Star expertise.”
“Gamers imagine that creating alternatives to showcase underserved Black baseball expertise will end in a extra aggressive and thrilling sport in years to come back,” mentioned MLBPA Senior Director, Worldwide and Home Participant Operations Leonor Colon. “The Midsummer Traditional can turn into an necessary car to realize that aim.”
“Because the trade’s joint basis, we’re proud to create and put money into new alternatives to degree the taking part in subject and be certain that a household’s monetary means isn’t a defining restrict to having their youth play baseball,” mentioned Jean Lee Batrus, MLB-MLBPA Youth Growth Govt Director. “Our buddy, Ken Griffey Jr., has been a tireless ambassador serving to us obtain our group’s targets. We’re excited to launch the inaugural HBCU Swingman Traditional as a singular and modern expertise to spotlight African American expertise on a nationwide stage and encourage discovering options to bettering faculty scholarships for baseball.”
MLB All-Star Week in 2023 shall be hosted by the Mariners in Seattle from Friday, July seventh by way of Tuesday, July eleventh. The HBCU Swingman Traditional is the newest main occasion added to the schedule of the annual Midsummer Traditional, becoming a member of the MLB All-Star Recreation offered by Mastercard, the T-Cellular Dwelling Run Derby, the Sirius-XM All-Star Futures Recreation, All-Star Superstar Softball Recreation, the MLB Draft, the Excessive Faculty All-American Recreation and a sequence of youth & fan engagement actions.
The HBCU Swingman Traditional joins the annual Hank Aaron Invitational as youth-oriented and diversity-focused applications powered by the MLB-MLBPA Youth Growth Basis, a joint initiative by MLB and MLBPA to assist efforts that target bettering the caliber, effectiveness and availability of beginner baseball and softball applications throughout the US and internationally.
Traditionally, many HBCU alumni have reached Main League Baseball, together with Corridor of Famers Andre Dawson and Lou Brock in addition to Marquis Grissom, Rickie Weeks, Jr., Vince Coleman, Tommie Agee, Tom Alston, Earl Battey, Joe Black and others. Corridor of Famer Larry Doby can also be an HBCU alumnus, however didn’t play baseball on the collegiate degree.