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Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities
Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities.gif
FounderJohn Young
Parent organization
Major League Baseball
WebsiteReviving Baseball in Inner Cities

Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is a youth baseball program operated by Major League Baseball. This youth initiative is designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball. The program was created by John Young in 1989 in Los Angeles, and now serves more than 200 communities.


Working as a scout for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB) following his playing career, John Young noticed a lack of African American prospects. While working for the Baltimore Orioles, he surveyed prospects selected in the 1986 MLB Draft, many of whom attended four-year colleges, and then noticed that among California colleges, 4% of players were African American and less than 3% were Hispanic. He presented his findings to Orioles' general manager Roland Hemond and MLB Commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Ueberroth contacted Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles, who agreed to fund a youth baseball program in Los Angeles, providing $50,000.[1][2] Young also received funding from the Amateur Athletic Union.[3]

Young, with the Professional Baseball Scouts of Southern California, organized 12 teams of 180 13- and 14-year-olds in 1989, the first year of the RBI program.[1] Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis, African American baseball players from Southern California, devoted time and money to help the program.[2]

MLB took over operation of the RBI program in 1991.[4] By 1992, the RBI program expanded to Harlem, St. Louis, and Kansas City.[3] Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., the former president of the National League, took over operation in the program in 1994, and forged a working alliance with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help grow the RBI program.[5][6]

The RBI program has received support from KPMG, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Louisville Slugger, New Balance, Rawlings, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Outdoor Cap.[4]


Teams compete in three divisions: the Junior Boys division (13 to 15 years of age), the Senior Boys division (16 to 18 years of age), and Girls Softball (up to 18 years of age).[7] League schedules run from May through August.[4] Teams compete in regional tournaments in order to compete in the RBI World Series, which began in 1993.[8] The RBI World Series is aired on the MLB Network and can be streamed on, starting in 2010.[9]

As of 2013, RBI operates over 300 programs in over 200 cities, with over 200,000 participants. Programs run in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and South America.[10] MLB provides college scholarships to RBI participants.[11] A Junior RBI program serves children from the ages of 6 through 12, which was launched in 2009.[12]


The number of African American players playing in MLB has declined in recent years. No member of the 2005 Houston Astros, who played in the World Series that year, was African American.[13] The percentage of African American players on Opening Day rosters has dropped from 19% in 1995 to 8.5% in 2013, leading to MLB opening a task force.[14][15] Former commissioner Bud Selig made it imperative that they try to get African American youths back into baseball.[16]

Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, has praised the efforts of the RBI program to reach out to African American youth.[17] Alumni of the RBI program include major leaguers CC Sabathia, Jimmy Rollins, Coco Crisp, James Loney, Carl Crawford, B. J. Upton, Justin Upton, Julio Borbon, Efren Navarro, Ricky Romero, Yovani Gallardo, Chris Young, J. P. Crawford, Dominic Smith and James McDonald, as well as MLB draftees Trevor Reckling and Victor Roache.[2][4][18][19][20][21]

See also


  1. ^ a b KLEIN, GARY (May 22, 1990). "Program Brings Baseball Back to Inner City - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "MLB's RBI program enters 20th year | News". May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Scout Sees Inner Cities` Hope Wasted - Sun Sentinel". May 31, 1992. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d (May 24, 2013). "About Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities | News". Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  5. ^ KAMIN, ARTHUR Z. (March 6, 1994). "New Jersey Q & A: Leonard S. Coleman Jr.; A New Leader in Baseball's Hierarchy - New York Times". Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  6. ^ Smith, Claire (March 30, 1997). "Blacks Turning Away From Baseball and Robinson's Dream". The New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "Los Angeles wins 2006 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series Senior Boys championship | Official Info" (Press release). August 7, 2006. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  8. ^ " - Archive - News". August 8, 1993. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  9. ^ Steve Dorsey. "RBI World Series ready for national spotlight | News". Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  10. ^ "2013 RBI World Series to be hosted by the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota | News". May 15, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  11. ^ "MLB announces 2013 'RBI for RBI' College Scholarship recipients | News". March 6, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "MLB launches Jr. RBI program | News". May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  13. ^ Kiszla, Mark. "Inner-city baseball needs Rays of hope". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  14. ^ "MLB to study decline in African-Americans | News". May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  15. ^ Sebring, Blake (May 22, 2013). "Decrease in African-Americans affecting baseball". Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  16. ^ Keown, Tim(April 19, 2013)| Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  17. ^ "Has baseball betrayed Jackie Robinson? - Jackie Robinson anniversary- NBC Sports". April 15, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  18. ^ "RBI program again impacts MLB Draft | News". May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  19. ^ "Fourteen alumni from Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities selected in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft | News". June 7, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  20. ^ "Urban Youth Academy's impact on Draft continues | News". May 6, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  21. ^ "Dominic Smith, J.P. Crawford products of MLB's youth initiatives | News". May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 October 2019, at 20:51
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