About the Hank Aaron Invitational
Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), USA Baseball and the Atlanta Braves have announced the re-branded Hank Aaron Invitational, which will add new elements to the effective approach of the former "Elite Development Invitational." The unique amateur development event will serve as a youth-oriented, on-field diversity initiative that aims to get high school-age players, with diverse backgrounds, to the next levels of the game.
The Hank Aaron Invitational will be held in July and August at Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida, and will be operated by MLB, the MLBPA and USA Baseball. Approximately 250 players (ages 13-18) from across the United States will receive elite-level training from former Major League players and coaches. Previous event instructors included former Major League manager Jerry Manuel and former All-Stars such as Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, Tom "Flash" Gordon, Eric Davis, Marquis Grissom, Reggie Smith, Delino DeShields, among others.
The players also will receive presentations on college eligibility and other information necessary for advancement in the collegiate and professional levels of the sport. Funding of the Hank Aaron Invitational comes from the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a joint effort established in July 2015 and focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and Canada.
As a new element of the event in 2019, the top 44 players from the Hank Aaron Invitational will be invited to play in a special showcase game at SunTrust Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves, as part of an extensive "Hank Aaron Week" hosted by the Braves. Hank Aaron Week will include a variety of diversity- and culture-focused initiatives focusing on business networking, nostalgic history connected to Aaron's legacy, philanthropy, education and social justice. Additional details for Hank Aaron Week, including dates for all events, will be announced at a later date.
The players for the Hank Aaron Invitational will be selected via a combination of the following programs and groups: MLB Youth Academy network, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, USA Baseball, the Buck O'Neil Scouts Association, MLB Clubs & Scouts and individual active and former players. Many players also will be participants of Breakthrough Series Development Camps hosted by MLB and USA Baseball.