Ken Griffey Sr. is one of the distinguished former MLB players, coaches and executives lending their expertise to the development of Black & brown players at The Hank Aaron Invitational in Vero Beach, Florida this week and next.
Ken Griffey Sr. was playing the outfield for the Big Red Machine when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth on the all-time Home Run list with 714. He also caught the last out ever made by the great Willie Mays in 1973. The father of “The Kid” shares some of the most memorable moments of his 19-year career.
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
Ken Griffey, Sr.
Former MiLB Players, Managers, Coaches & Executives
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
Stay tuned for more live coverage from Hank Aaron Invitational with MLBbro.com
Prior to Monday’s doubleheader against the Twins, Anderson capped off the weekend in blazing fashion. He went 7-for-17 in three games against the Astros with three bombs, including a wall-bouncing homer, which snapped a long ball drought of 44 days.
Although Anderson has hit safely in 16 consecutive games, he’s also recorded a hit and run in 12 straight games — another franchise record. The former batting champion continues to make everybody who felt he wasn’t an All-star starter eat crow.
Longest streaks in #WhiteSox history of games with both a hit and a run:
11 TIM ANDERSON, 2021 10 Adam Eaton, 2015 10 José Valentín, 2000 10 Ralph Garr, 1977 10 Luke Appling, 1936 10 Harry Hooper, 1924 10 Ernie Johnson, 1921
Every time Guaranteed Rate Field announces TA7’s plate appearance, echoing throughout the stadium’s sound system should play “I’m Coming In Hot “with Christian rap artists Lecrae and Andy Mineo. The MLBbro is averaging .403/.409/.612 with 18 runs scored, 10 RBI, seven multi-hit games, six doubles, three homers, and one triple during the hit streak.
Since 2019, when he puts the ball in play, Anderson is averaging .395, which started in 2019. Throughout
249 games, he is 301-762, which means he has been a consistent raker at the plate, which led the
southside phenom to make his first All-Star game appearance in Denver, Colorado, last week.
MLBbro and 2014 Hall of Famer Frank Thomas and other legends mentioned his numbers over the past three years. They asked him about his drip and how did it come about?
His response, “It’s got to be in you, not on you.”
Frank Thomas and the guys at @MLBONFOX caught up with TA7 in Denver.
He said, “I knew I was supposed to be here all along. I just continued playing and kept having fun with the game. He continued, “I play against these guys, so they know what I bring to the table day in and day out. They know how I play the game. They must love me.”
Anderson was a substitute who only played on the defensive side of the diamond, so the fans of the game didn’t get to see TA7 take any swings at the plate, which is mind-boggling.
Chicago Tribune reporter LaMond Pope asked Anderson if he wished he would have gotten up to the plate? With a smile on his face, he said, “for sure, but it’s all good. Kevin (Cash), I’ll see him in Tampa, so I’ll take it out on him then.”
Anderson told the Chicago Sun-Times reporter Daryl Van Schouwen that he hopes the 2021 All-Star game won’t be his last. He said, “Hopefully, I’ll be able to start one soon. That will give me a little motivation. Being there definitely makes you want to get back.
TA7 is the new face of baseball. His team currently holds the number one spot in the league, and he is on fire. If Anderson keeps raking like this, he can achieve some gold gloves, silver sluggers, and league MVPs soon with numbers like these.