Rangers host Players Alliance event on MLK Day

Semien and Hearn, plus Beasley and GM Young, give back to DFW community

January 16th, 2023

DALLAS –- Current and former Major League players at the Rangers Youth Academy on Monday passed around a large sign with a Martin Luther King Jr. quote on it, saying: “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”

The Rangers embodied that very message by partnering with The Players Alliance and Food for Soul to host two service events at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The Players Alliance is a coalition of current and former Black Major League players dedicated to addressing baseball’s systemic racial barriers by creating opportunities on and off the field for a pipeline of Black talent.

A number of current and former big leaguers attended the event, including Rangers second baseman , pitcher and third base coach Tony Beasley. Also participating was former Rangers player Willie Calhoun and general manager Chris Young.

Photo courtesy of Bailey Orr

“This was set aside to be a day of service,” said Beasley. “That's what Martin Luther King [Jr.] was about: serving. It was important for me to be a part of this and I’m honored to be a part of it to give back to the community and just be present and that represent a part of what's important to Martin Luther King.

"It’s awesome when we, as a group, in this community, can get out and give back. It shows that we recognize the needs of the community that we are willing to give our time and energy and effort to make sure that we can bring a smile to someone's face.”

Semien, who brought his family to the event with him, noted that it’s important for his sons to see Black men who look like them giving back to the community. 

“It's always important to give back,” Semien said. “I think there's a lot of people in that community who need help, especially during these times. Today, Martin Luther King Day, is just a special day. Organizations out there like The Players Alliance and the Rangers want to give back. As you can see, there's a ton of people who are out here and ready to help.” 

The day began with the Food for the Soul food distribution, where players passed out fresh produce and non-perishable goods to 200 families in need during a drive-through style event. The food drive was immediately followed by The Players Alliance Equip The Future program, which creates mentorship opportunities for baseball and softball players to gain insight from current and former professional players, particularly on how to be successful in the game both on and off the field.

Photo courtesy of Bailey Orr

“It's been huge,” Hearn said of The Players Alliance’s impact. “They've been showing up in different ways. At the All-Star Game, MLB gave them $100 million. So that's going to go a long way for us to continue giving back, and then also us doing our own stuff on the side is going to help out as well. There’s been a lot of good meetings, a lot of stuff that's coming up as well. So I'm excited for it.”

For Hearn, who grew up in the DFW area, giving back to the community is even more important as a member of the Rangers. He said he never met a Rangers player until he played for the club himself, so he likes being able to be a face that local kids recognize outside of the TV screen.

Photo courtesy of Bailey Orr

The Royse City native puts on a number of service events in the offseason, including multiple youth baseball tournaments, a turkey drive during Thanksgiving week and volunteer work at the Arlington Life Shelter during the holidays. He was named the club’s 2022 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his work.

“Being a kid growing up in Dallas, I just like giving back to my community,” Hearn said. “This is something, especially when I got with The Players Alliance, that was really big. This is something I'd never like to miss out on. It's just fun to be able to see guys that I have played against, and my own teammates like Marcus and Willie as well, and to see C.Y. come out. It’s been a great event.”