Academy Notebook: Black History Month Jamboree; National Girls and Women in Sports Day

February 5th, 2021
Ced Landrum during the MLBPAA Legends for the Youth Clinic at the Academy.

Organizations and businesses across the United States pay tribute to the crucial role Black Americans have played in the country’s history this month. This Saturday, Feb. 6, the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, presented by Toyota, will be hosting its inaugural Black History Month Jamboree.

The Black History Month Camp presented by NIKE is set to run from 9-11 a.m. for players ages 7-14. The Jamboree will immediately follow, featuring games at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., all played on Johnny Oates Field. Rangers pitcher Taylor Hearn is set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 12:30 p.m. game. High Schools participating in the Jamboree include Lincoln, Madison, Wilmer-Hutchins, Adamson, Cater and South Oak Cliff.

The Jamboree schedule is listed below. Scheduling is subject to change.

12:30 p.m. – Lincoln High School Tigers vs. Madison High School Trojans

3:30 p.m. – Adamson High School Leopards vs. Wilmer-Hutchins High School Eagles

6:30 p.m. – Carter High School Cowboys vs. South Oak Cliff High School Golden Bears

Caleb Richardson (Carter, 2025) will be taking the field for the first time as a high school freshman varsity player.

“I am excited to play on the field where I am a part of the organization that has helped me grow more in the game of baseball,” said Richardson. “My biggest focus this season is not to worry so much about the pandemic we are currently in, but to study more of the game and play at a high school level. I want to be able to play effortlessly in any position and be prepared for whatever comes after high school."

National Girls & Women in Sports Day

After a year profoundly impacted by Covid-19, women continued to break the standards and rewrite the rules of sports. Feb. 5 marks another National Girls and Women in Sports Day, crusaded by leaders like Kim Ng, the new General Manager of the Miami Marlins, and Bianca Smith, a former intern in the Texas Rangers front office and Youth Academy coach, who was hired as a Minor League coach in the Boston Red Sox organization Jan. 4. Smith is now the first Black woman to coach professional baseball, attributing key parts of her development to the Rangers.

Academy coach Edward Taylor recalls his time with Smith at the Academy, saying she was “willing to help anyone with anything.”

“She’s very engaging when it comes to lending a hand and giving very good advice on work ethic,” Taylor explained. “Even after she left the Academy, she stayed in touch with me. We still talk and text each other on the game of baseball and helping one another. She’s very knowledgeable of the game and she’s more than willing to help anyone and provide anything asked of her.”

Taylor added that “hard work, perseverance and experience can and will help anyone achieve their goals in the sport of baseball. She’s willing to help anyone and I love that about her.”

Smith’s accomplishments will continue to impact the generations of Academy players and coaches to come.

Legends for Youth Clinic

This past Saturday, Jan. 30, the Major League Baseball Alumni Association conducted a Legends for Youth Clinic at the Academy. Jimmy Serrano, Ced Landrum, Shawn Barton, Jeff Bajenaru and John Briscoe instructed 30 players between the ages of 13 and 18 in a multi-station format.

The camp focused on empowering young baseball players to make positive life decisions both on and off the field. Attendees received instruction in pitching, infield, outfield, base running and hitting.