Scott Yelle honors late son with tour of MLB ballparks

June 7th, 2024

CHICAGO -- When Scott Yelle visited Guaranteed Rate Field for Boston’s 14-2 victory over the White Sox on Thursday night, his son, Jackson, was with him in true baseball spirit through the cap Scott was wearing.

“I wear his Elon [University] hat from school. This is his hat,” said Scott, proudly showing off the hat outside the Guaranteed Rate Club. “It has the sweat stains.

“It might walk away,” he added, with a laugh, of the hat. “He gets to come to every ballpark with me, just in a different form.”

Scott and Jackson randomly started visiting different ballparks when Jackson was young, and during one weekend travel day, Scott pointed out how they had been to three or four so why not go for all 30. Jackson agreed, and the duo reached 12 of the 30 before Jackson was sadly killed on April 30, 2023, at the age of 21 after he was hit by a driver while walking on the road.

The Jackson Yelle Family Foundation was developed in his honor, and Scott decided to complete trips to the final 18 ballparks in his memory. The Massachusetts native threw the idea out to the people he knew in the baseball community, including the Wingo family, who were close friends of his family.

Trey Wingo, a longtime ESPN on-air personality, suggested Scott should check out Major League Baseball’s Nike RBI youth program. After watching videos about the impressive program, he decided to partner up and donate money for each stop while raising money for the Foundation featuring his son’s name.

“I saw a video that kind of clinched it for me,” Scott said. “Hunter Greene, he came up through the RBI program, pitches for the Reds now. He’s just a great story.

“He talked about how it helped him with his skills on the field and gave him opportunities, but it helped prepare him for life. That’s what really drew us to the program.”

Guaranteed Rate Field was ballpark No. 27 for Scott, after a visit to Wrigley Field for Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s Crosstown Cup contests served as No. 26. He was in St. Louis on Friday, will be in Kansas City on Saturday and will complete the final 18 that began on March 31 with Comerica Park in Detroit on Sunday.

Scott's best friend from New York flew in to join Scott on Tuesday on the North Side of Chicago, and a friend from Massachusetts was with the Red Sox fan on Thursday. Jackson’s roommate and his roommate’s mom were planning to meet Scott on Friday in St. Louis, with Scott's wife and daughter meeting him for No. 30 in Detroit.

But as Scott pointed out while holding his son’s baseball cap, Jackson has been with him every step of the way.

“Jackson would be thrilled. He would love it. He just would be a kid in a candy store,” Scott said. “By the same token, he would be, ‘What’s all the fuss about?’ He would be humbled that he got to do it and we are doing it for him on his behalf.”