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Seattle Mariners celebrate African American Heritage Day July 27

NBA legend Bill Russell scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch

The Seattle Mariners are celebrating the contributions of African Americans to the Northwest community. Bill Russell, widely considered one of the best players in the history of the National Basketball Association, and a long-time Seattle resident, is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners take on the Baltimore Orioles (1:10pm start).

In addition to the ceremonial first pitch by Russell, African American Heritage Day at Safeco Field will include a pregame ceremony during which noted African Americans who have contributed to life in the Northwest will be honored. Honorees include:

  • Fred Brown, Seattle SuperSonics legend, retired business executive and entrepreneur.
  • Gregory Dean, Seattle Fire Chief. A native of Seattle, Chief Dean has spent 41 years in the Seattle Fire Department, the last 10 years as chief.
  • Theresa Frank, a leading business woman and real estate developer. Sibling of Federal Judge Richard A. Jones and movie and musical legend Quincy Jones.
  • Donald King, renowned Seattle architect with nearly 40 years of experience in planning and design, He has been a member of the American Institute of Architects since 1979 and a member of the AIA College of Fellows since 2000.
  • Rev. Samuel McKinney, spiritual and civil rights leader, served as pastor of Seattle Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1958 until his retirement in 1998. Earlier this year, a section of 19th Ave. East was renamed Rev. Dr. S. McKinney Ave., in his honor.
  • Bill Russell is an NBA Hall of Famer who was a five time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 12-time All-Star, and the centerpiece of the Boston Celtics dynasty of the late 50s and 60s which won 11 NBA championships during his 13-year career.
  • Herb Simpson, last known surviving member of the Seattle Steelheads Negro Leagues team.

Special group seating for the game is available through an exclusive online offer ( Tickets are $18 for View Level and $32 for Main Level, with $7 from each ticket sold benefitting non-profit organizations in the Seattle area. Deadline to purchase tickets is noon, Friday, July 25.

Seattle Mariners