HOUSTON, TX - Major League Baseball today announced that the Houston Astros will host the 2014 Civil Rights Game and ancillary activities, a series of events developed by MLB to pay tribute to those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. The event is another example of the Houston Astros supporting MLB initiatives geared toward highlighting diversity throughout baseball.
Frank Robinson and Jim Crane
The 2014 Civil Rights Game will be played between the Astros and the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park on May 30, 2014, airing nationally on MLB Network. Ancillary activities such as the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, the Baseball & Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion and a youth baseball and softball event will all take place that week. Ticket sales and more information on the 2014 Civil Rights Game and ancillary events will be made available at a later date on MLB.com/civilrightsgame and Astros.com/civilrightsgame.
"I am pleased to announce the Houston Astros, who have demonstrated a substantial commitment to supporting diversity throughout our industry, as the hosts of Major League Baseball's 2014 Civil Rights Game," Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. "The Civil Rights Game and its surrounding events are an opportunity not only for our game to honor those who have fought for equality throughout American history, but also to remind us that the battle against injustice continues. As a social institution that features unprecedented diversity of all races and ethnicities throughout our sport, we are proud to join the Astros in remembering this important era in history."
"The Astros are honored to host the 2014 Civil Rights Game," said Jim Crane, Owner & Chairman, Houston Astros. "We have been pleased to support Major League Baseball's many initiatives over the past two seasons and look forward to continuing to do so. The Civil Rights Game and its activities are a great way for us to honor those that have fought for equality in the past, and to promote diversity and opportunity in our game moving forward."
In addition to the 2014 Civil Rights Game at Minute Maid Park, several events will take place throughout the week, including:
Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion
A group of prominent participants will discuss the pivotal role Baseball played in the civil rights movement and the game's continued presence as a social institution in American society. Previous panelists have included Martin Luther King III, human rights activist and eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Sharon Robinson, MLB Educational Programming Consultant and daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson; Dolores Huerta, activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers; Ambassador Shabazz, ambassador-at-large for Belize and eldest daughter of Malcolm X; Branch Rickey III, Pacific Coast League President and grandson of the late Branch Rickey; Thomas Tull, Chairman & CEO of Legendary Entertainment and Producer of the featured film "42"; Arte Moreno, Principal Owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Kenny Williams, Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox; Hall of Famers Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and Dave Winfield; Dodgers legend Don Newcombe; Hall of Fame journalist and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons; and MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, among others.
MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon
The MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon will honor the recipients of this year's MLB Beacon Awards, which recognize individuals whose lives are emblematic of the spirit of the civil rights movement. Past recipients of MLB Beacon Awards include: Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks; and also Buck O'Neil, Don Newcombe, Bo Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Ruby Dee, Aretha Franklin, Morgan Freeman, John H. Johnson, Billie Jean King, Spike Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Carlos Santana, three of the founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire, and Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Keynote speakers at previous MLB Beacon Award events have included Commissioner Selig, President Bill Clinton, Ambassador Andrew Young, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Julian Bond and Michael Wilbon.
The youth baseball and softball clinic is an event designed to give young players locally the opportunity to interact with and learn from current and former players. Interactive aspects will include batting cages, pitching machines and baserunning stations.
ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS GAME
The 2014 Civil Rights Game is the eighth installation of an annual event that began in Memphis in 2007, centering on an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians. After another exhibition game in Memphis in 2008, the Civil Rights Game moved to Cincinnati (2009-2010), then Atlanta (2011-2012) as regular season contests, and last year was hosted in Chicago by the White Sox. While much of the south was deeply affected during the Civil Rights Movement with violence threatening the well-being of many, Houston played a vital role in achieving peaceful desegregation, making it a crucial part of the overall civil rights effort.
ABOUT THE HOUSTON ASTROS & MLB DIVERSITY INITIATIVES
In 2010, the Houston Astros became the first MLB Club to have its own MLB Urban Youth Academy, which is a network of MLB facilities around the country that provide free, year-round baseball and softball instruction to young people from underserved and urban areas. They also provide educational and baseball vocation training programs for Academy participants. The Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy has attracted approximately 1,300 participants this year. In 2012, the Astros hosted the fifth annual Urban Invitational, a nationally-televised, round-robin collegiate baseball tournament designed by MLB to give Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and their baseball programs, national exposure. The Club again hosted the event in 2013. Additionally, the Astros were the co-hosts of the second annual MLB Diversity Business Summit, MLB's sports employment and business opportunity career and trade fair that provides attendees with unprecedented access to human resource and procurement executives from all 30 MLB Clubs, MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media, Minor League Baseball Clubs and MLB's Central Office. Also in 2013, the Club hosted the sixth annual Breakthrough Series, which is a collegiate and professional scouting showcase featuring a diverse group of some of the top high school baseball players in the country.
left to right: Jose Cruz, Jimmy Wynn, Jim Crane, Frank Robinson, Annise Parker, Bo Porter, Sylvester Turner, Shawn Taylor, Reid Ryan
State Representative Sylvester Turner