Kendrick encourages kids to dream during visit to Rangers Youth Academy
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president shared stories about baseball legends like Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson and more
DALLAS -- The next generation of baseball was empowered to dream big after Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick visited the Texas Rangers Youth Baseball Academy in Dallas on Saturday.
Kendrick has served as the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for twelve years and has made it his mission to promote baseball in urban areas. More specifically, Kendrick’s goal is to empower more Black athletes to pursue collegiate and professional baseball careers.
“The Negro League teaches us that if we dare to dream, you can do anything,” Kendrick said. “That’s what we must instill in our children -- the ability to dream.”
During his visit at the Texas Rangers Youth Baseball Academy, Kendrick spoke glowingly of the robust history of the Negro Leagues. Kendrick shared scarcely known information and funny stories about baseball legends like Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson and Andrew "Rube" Foster, all of whom starred in the Negro Leagues.
Kendrick spoke of the resilience, dedication and talent that characterized these players and hoped the youth in attendance would adopt the same traits.
“Having Bob [Kendrick] here is unbelievable,” said Juan Garciga, director of the Texas Rangers Youth Baseball Academy. “He is just an incredible storyteller and a tremendous baseball historian. Having him here speaking is incredibly impactful to not only our athletes, but their parents, as well.”
Kendrick also spoke of how Black communities rarely had facilities or stadiums to play in and how thrilled he was to see the Texas Rangers Youth Academy filling that gap.
“Being in this facility is tremendously gratifying,” Kendrick said. “I applaud all the folks with the Texas Rangers who collaborated on this project. There is no greater investment that we can make than in our children.”
Opened in December 2017, the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, presented by Toyota, is an extension of Major League Baseball’s not-for-profit Urban Youth Academy programs.
The facility is one of 11 Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academies across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Located in West Dallas, the Academy provides free year-round baseball and softball instruction to athletes ages 7-18 and summer ball for athletes ages 13-18 through Major League Baseball’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) League.
During his visit to the Academy, Kendrick was “highly impressed” and hopes to see similar structures blossom around the country.
After a thorough review of the history of the Negro Leagues, Kendrick gifted all the young athletes in attendance a copy of the MLB the Show (2023) videogame, which features playable Negro Leagues baseball legends for the first time in its franchise history.
“This is a dream come true,” said Christian Gray, a 17-year old outfielder. “I really wanted this game. But now that I actually have it, it just feels amazing.”
The Negro League segment of the game includes narration from none other than Kendrick himself, as he introduces Negro League legends to a new generation of fans.
“This was an eye-opening experience,” said 18-year-old Ty Moore, who has attended the Academy since his freshman year of high school. “I learned a lot about the Negro League. Just knowing what these players went through and hearing their stories, it’s just eye-opening.”
In closing, Kendrick reminded those in attendance to remain courageous and hopeful, citing that the only thing that could stop them from achieving their dream, is to not dream at all.
“The opportunities are there,” Kendrick said. “They are limitless. You’re only stifled by your own willingness to not dream. So keep dreaming and stay hungry for success, because you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”
For more information on the Texas Rangers Youth Baseball Academy, please visit the official website here.