On Sunday, thirteen current and former Culver City Little League players participated in the Major League Baseball and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) baseball clinic. 200 young boys and girls from programs throughout the Los Angeles-area were invited to participate.
The clinic, held on the field at Dodger Stadium, featured almost a dozen former Dodgers greats, including former two-time MLB Most Valuable Player and baseball’s first African American manager, Frank Robinson, former National League MVP Maury Wills, former National League Batting Champion Tommy Davis, former Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award winner and MVP winner Don Newcombe, former all-star and 123 game winner “Gentleman” Al Downing, Dodger World series heros “Sweet” Lou Johnson and Ken Landreaux, Derrell Thomas, and Dennis Powell.
Jim Hill emceed the event, which included speeches from Newcombe, Frank Robinson, and Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter. Sharon Robinson reminded the youth that her father did not just break the color barrier just for African Americans, but rather for baseball players of all races. Robinson continued, “”My father was very devoted to young people and development, as is our family, so to see them come out and be on a big league field as little children, I hope they’re inspired that they can grow up and do whatever they want to do.”
The 200 lucky boys and girls then split into groups where they were instructed by local high school baseball stars on the different facets of fielding, throwing, running and hitting.
Today, Major League Baseball is celebrating Jackie Robinson Day, celebrating the 64th anniversary of the Hall of Famer breaking baseball’s color barrier. For the third consecutive year, all players, coaches and managers will wear Jackie’s retired Number 42.
The RBI program is a MLB youth outreach initiative designed to give underserved young people and communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourage academic success and teach the value of teamwork and other important life lessons.
Front Row (left to right) Jared Bojorquez, Thomas Chee, Brandon Zeidman, Ronin Honda, Jason Romero.
Second Row: Travers Tobis, Jaylen Freeman, Eric Perez, Andy Perez, Caleb Brandon
Back Row: Jason Zeidman, Al Downing, Henry Brandon III, Blake Brandon
Not pictured: Noah Tyau