4: 55 AM UTC
The 2023 Andre Dawson Classic– a yearly MLB-hosted baseball display including traditionally black institution of higher learnings (HBCUs)– is under method in New Orleans.
Launched in 2008, the 15 th edition of the round-robin competition will include 7 HBCUs, consisting of one making its very first look at the occasion. The action began Friday with 2 video games on MLB Network, MLB.com and the MLB App.
Alabama A&M opened play Friday by beating Prairie View A&M, 13 -1. Dawson’s university, Florida A&M, beat Southern 12 -6 in the afternoon. Jackson State locked out New Orleans– a co-host of the competition and the only non-HBCU school contending– 3-0. In the nightcap, Alabama State scored 6 runs in the 10 th for a 10 -4 success over Grambling State.
” We’re honored to be in the competition, specifically due to the fact that of the name of the competition,” stated Florida A&M head coach Jamey Shouppe. “Andre’s not just, undoubtedly, a famous baseball figure and a Hall of Famer, however a person that strolled the exact same school that our gamers presently stroll and practiced on a few of the exact same fields that our people practice on.”
Dawson, who starred for the Rattlers from 1972-75, wasn’t chosen up until the Expos called his name in the 11 th round of the 1975 MLB Draft. He lost no time at all going far for himself at the next level, nevertheless, winning the 1977 NL Rookie of the Year Award. He went on to win the 1987 NL MVP Award with the Cubs, the ’87 Home Run Derby, 8 Gold Glove Awards and 4 Silver Sluggers, all while making 8 All-Star looks throughout his 21- year Hall of Fame profession.
Dawson is among simply 3 HBCU alumni– together with Lou Brock and Larry Doby– in the Hall of Fame.
This annual occasion, initially called the Urban Invitational, was relabelled for Dawson starting in2018 No matter the name, one school that has actually been there for all 15 competitions is Southern University.
” It’s an abundant custom of playing in it,” stated Southern head coach Chris Crenshaw.
At the other end of the spectrum is Alabama A&M, led by head coach Elliott Jones. While the school will be making its very first look at the Andre Dawson Classic, Jones himself has a lot of experience with the occasion.
A previous gamer and assistant coach at Southern, Jones formerly took part in a handful of these competitions. That consists of the 2012 variation, when he took the field at Houston’s Minute Maid Park as part of the three-day display.
” That was such a fantastic chance. At a traditionally black college, few men get an opportunity to play in a Major League ballpark, and we was among the programs that had that chance to dip into Minute Maid,” stated Jones, whose Alabama A&M club concludes with a Sunday face-off versus Southern. “It’s going to be interesting. Coach Crenshaw has actually done an actually excellent task at Southern, with the winning custom there, so it’s going to be an interesting Sunday match that I’m anticipating.”
Every club taking part in this year’s Andre Dawson Classic includes alumni of either MLB Development Initiatives or Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) programs.
In overall, there are 42 gamers who have actually taken part in MLB Development Initiatives, such as the Dream Series, Breakthrough Series and the Hank Aaron Invitational That’s a 121% boost from2022 The ’23 variation likewise consists of 44 alumni from RBI programs (a 47% boost from 2022) and 19 alumni of MLB Youth Academies.
” It’s crucial for the kids who come through our advancement programs and come through the RBI programs or Breakthrough Series or Hank Aaron Invitational, to get a chance to wind up going to these schools and enhancing their education and likewise having a possibility to play baseball,” stated Del Matthews, MLB’s vice president of baseball advancement. “The environment at the HBCUs and the cultures there, particularly for baseball, resembles no other.”
The yearly display is not just a terrific chance for the existing student-athletes, however it has actually likewise offered the schools with a significant increase when it concerns hiring high school ballplayers.
” I believe the environment we reside in now, for the kids, it’s substantial at any time you get a possibility to use MLB Network or at any time you get a possibility to use television duration,” stated Davin Pierre, who has actually worked as Grambling State’s recruiting organizer considering that 2012 and remains in his 2nd year as the program’s head coach. “It enables the kids to understand this is a location where they can be seen. Playing in this competition, there will be a great deal of scouts there– so our kids will really get a chance to be seen by scouts. It’s huge for hiring.”
As essential as it is to carry out well on the field this weekend, the coaches likewise worried the significance of the professional athletes taking pride not just to use a nationwide phase, however likewise in the chance to represent Dawson.
” He was not just a famous baseball gamer, however a remarkable guy,” Shouppe stated. “That’s something we attempt to impart in our gamers: A tradition of playing in a competition like this, it’s essential not just how you play, however how you manage yourself in the procedure of playing, which is something Andre did throughout his profession.”