If you’re searching for the best Black baseball talent of today and the future, look no further than the Hank Aaron Invitational in Vero Beach, Florida, named after the greatest home run hitter to ever grace the diamond.
With Aaron’s unfortunate passing in January of 2021 and Black players being systemically eliminated from the game, the Invitational bearing Aaron’s name has become more impactful, important and necessary than ever.
“I’m humbled to have this program named in my honor and thrilled the showcase game will be played at SunTrust Park,” said Aaron, a few years before his passing, about the event which was originally called the Elite Invitational, “I applaud MLB and the Braves in their efforts to continue to assist with outreach so that opportunities are available to all.”
The Invitational currently has more than 100 alumni either playing in MLB, Club Minor League systems, or on the collegiate level.
Thursday completes Week 1 of the Hank Aaron Invitational, where 100 diverse amateur baseball athletes from over 17 states come to the Jackie Robinson Training Complex, in Vero Beach for a Black baseball extravaganza.
The first week of the amateur development camp began on Sunday, July 18. The event provides training and instruction from former Major League Players, coaches, and baseball executives for Black and brown ballers in the 2024 and 2025 graduating High School classes.
The week also includes special guest presentations and addresses. The Hank Aaron Invitational was created and developed by the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation (a joint initiative by MLB and MLBPA) to support efforts that focus on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and internationally.
Following is a list of former MLB and MiLB players and coaches who will serve as instructors at the event. The wealth of knowledge is unrivaled by any developmental program in the country.
Former MLB Players as On-Field Coaches
- Luis Alicea
- Willie Banks
- Lou Collier
- Courtney Duncan
- Marvin Freeman
- Ken Griffey, Sr.
- Marquis Grissom
- Ken Hill
- Brian Hunter
- Charles Johnson
- Pat Mahomes
- Bobby Ramos
- Jerry Royster
- Sergio Santos
- Junior Spivey
- Michael Tucker
- Lenny Webster
- Jemile Weeks
- Reggie Williams
- Dmitri Young
Former MiLB Players, Managers, Coaches & Executives
- Antonio Grissom
- Jerry Manuel
- Lester Strode
- Reggie Waller
- Tye Waller
- Tony Reagins, MLB Chief Baseball Development Officer
- Del Matthews, MLB Vice President of Baseball Development
- Dave Winfield, MLBPA Special Advisor to the Executive Director
- Jeffrey Hammonds, MLBPA Associate Director, Player Programs, and Initiatives
- Leonor Colon, MLBPA Senior Director, International and Domestic Player Operations
- Bo Porter, MLB Consultant on Coaching Development
- Gregor Blanco, MLB Senior Director, Baseball Operations
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