Players Alliance Launches Six-City Coaches Extensive With MLBbros Marquis Grissom, Lou Collier, Marvin Freeman and Lenny Webster

Players Alliance Launches Six-City Coaches Extensive With MLBbros Marquis Grissom, Lou Collier, Marvin Freeman and Lenny Webster

The Players Alliance continues to impact inner-city communities in numerous ways. This month, the organization kicked off Jackie Robinson weekend with the launch of their six-city Coaches Intensive.


This Coaches Intensive features MLBbro greats Marquis Grissom, Lou Collier, Lenny Webster, and Marvin Freeman.


These former MLB players are providing local coaches with a great opportunity to absorb information they’ve learned from their playing days and develop their skills and knowledge as coaches.



An opportunity like this certainly doesn’t come every day and the fact that the Players’ Alliance is doing this, just shows how much they care about growing the game of baseball in Black communities.


The six-city tour started in Detroit during the weekend of April 19-21 and made a stop in Baltimore this past weekend.


They’ll also visit Jacksonville, Chicago, New Orleans, and Memphis.


Let’s take a look at the careers these former MLBbro’s had when they were playing in the big leagues.


Marquis Grissom

Grissom played in the majors for 17 seasons and accomplished a lot during his tenure. He finished his career with a .272 batting average with 2,251 hits, 227 home runs, 967 RBI, and 429 stolen bases.


The former outfielder is a two-time all-star selection, a four-time Gold Glove winner, and a two-time National League stolen base leader.


Grissom also won a World Series title in 1995 with the Atlanta Braves and was named the 1997 ALCS MVP with the Cleveland Indians. The numbers and awards speak for themselves–Grissom was a flat-out baller and was a player you wanted to have on your team.


Lou Collier


Collier appeared in 315 major league games from 1997 to 2004. During that span, he played for five different teams.

During his career, he was considered a utility player and could play multiple positions. He hit .248 with eight home runs and 78 RBI. Collier also spent time playing in the Korean Baseball Organization League from 2005 to 2006, where he hit 22 home runs and had 86 RBI.



Collier’s son, Cam, is currently playing in the Cincinnati Reds organization and is playing for the High-A affiliate Dayton Dragons.


Lenny Webster



Webster was a catcher and played in the league from 1989 to 2000. You don’t see many Black catchers at the Major League level, but Webster was one of the most talented in the game during his playing days. He began his career with the Minnesota Twins and played with four other teams before ending his career with the Montreal Expos.


Webster has a .254 career batting average with 33 home runs and 176 RBI.


Marvin Freeman


Freeman pitched in the big leagues from 1986 to 1996 for four different teams. Listed at 6-foot-7, Freeman was a dominating presence on the mound.




He finished his career with a 35-28 record with a 4.64 ERA.


His best season came in 1994 with the Colorado Rockies. Freeman finished that season with a 10-2 record with a 2.80 ERA. That season he finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting.


These former players have a lot of experience and it’s great to see them giving back to the community. 


The Players Alliance Rep & Former MLBbro All-Star Adam Jones At 2022 MLB All-Star Game


The mission of the Players Alliance is to “Address baseball’s systemic barriers to equity and inclusion by creating pathways to opportunities on and off the field for an undeniable pipeline of black talent.”


By doing clinics and events like this, the Players Alliance is successfully achieving its mission and is a key contributor to helping baseball become more accessible in Black communities. 



HBCU Swingman Classic Gives Black College Players A Showcase	In Seattle | Celebrating Old & New Legends Of Black Baseball

HBCU Swingman Classic Gives Black College Players A Showcase In Seattle | Celebrating Old & New Legends Of Black Baseball

Historically Black Colleges and Universities [HBCUs] have become more than just a sanctuary for Black collegiate student-athletes.  It now appears that Major League Baseball is ready to visit those athletic programs for players who have been previously overlooked. 



HBCU Swingman Classic & Ken Griffey Jr. 


The first HBCU Swingman Classic on July 7, will feature 50 HBCU Players during MLB All-Star Week’s first pitch in Seattle with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. as its catalyst. MLB’s Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI) program has also produced several Black American Major Leaguers – including former pitcher C.C. Sabathia and current Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford.  However, this will be the first time that MLB has literally put its money where its mouth is to give aspiring talent from HBCUs their own all-star showcase.


“I could never fathom this happening,” said former Southern University’s legendary coach and College Baseball Hall of Famer Roger Cador.  “I had been working with [MLB Chief Baseball Development Officer] Tony Reagins and we had been trying to do something like this for the last three years.”


“But it wasn’t until Ken Griffey, Jr. along with [MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred] came along and gave their support that the idea became reality and it’s something that will be around for years to come”.


Griffey-Backed Swingman Classic Becoming Gateway For HBCUs



MLB appears to understand there is something unsettling about the dwindling numbers of Black American players as the game continues importing most of the new generation of stars from the Dominican Republic and Asia.


However, some of the greatest Black Knights in the history of baseball have ties to HBCUs. For example: Larry Doby, who played at Virginia Union University, was MLB’s second Black American player with the Cleveland franchise debuting 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson.  


MLB Has HBCU Roots 


St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock – a multiple world champion and one time MLB all-time stolen base leader – is a graduate of Southern University.  Joe Black, the 1952 National League Rookie of the Year with the Brooklyn Dodgers, graduated from Morgan State. The 1969 World Series MVP Donn Clendenon from the “Amazin’ New York Mets is a Morehouse man.  Vince Coleman, Marquis Grissom, and Andre Dawson would be statistically one of the greatest outfield combinations of all-time and they all played at Florida A&M. 



HBCU Players In MLB Draft? 

Texas Southern junior outfielder Johnathon Thomas was the first HBCU baseball player taken in the 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft.  He was selected in the 19th round with the 561st overall pick by the Washington Nationals. Those who follow the prospects in their organization feel that with the talent pool of outfielders already there he faces a difficult battle trying to make the show.

Nonetheless, this is one of the showcases giving HBCU baseball programs a stage to evaluate prospects with support from MLB. In addition to being a platform for MLB scouts, the game’s most valuable player will earn a name, image, and likeness (NIL) deal from T-Mobile to immediately enter the new world order of capitalizing on marketing and commercial advertising deals.


“I don’t know if we’ll get the type of players we once did, ” Cador said.  


“But I’m thinking with this All Star Game and the NIL money we may be able to make up some ground on bringing mid-level players back to Black colleges.”


Cador is to HBCU baseball what the late Eddie Robinson was to Black College football at Grambling.  He took a non-existent program and won 14 Southwestern Athletic Conference and two HBCU National championships in 17 seasons. Cador also had 62 players drafted and 11 All-Americans including 2003 Golden Spikes Awards winner Rickie Weeks who was the second pick in that year’s MLB Draft. Weeks played 14 years with the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Tampa Bay Rays.



Earlier this year, the Black College World Series was played in Montgomery, Alabama featuring HBCU players from NAIA and NCAA Division II Schools that was scouted by Major League Baseball clubs also. However, that was a survive and advance series with a championship in the balance. 


Andre Dawson Classic Continues To Be A Conduit Of Diversity & Inspiration For Black Baseball Explosion


It’s one of several efforts, including the Andrew Dawson Classic, being played that give Black college players an unprecedented stage to display their skills before scouts and talent evaluators.

Florida Memorial (22-24) beat Albany State (39-11) 5-4 in a 19-inning championship game at Riverwalk Park – home of the Class AA Montgomery Biscuits – who are an affiliate of the Tampa Rays.

As a sobering reminder of the plight facing Black American players on MLB rosters today, the 2022 World Series marked the first time since 1950 that didn’t feature any U.S. born Black players which was just three years after Jackie Robinson broke the game’s color barrier.


No MLBbros In 2022 Fall Classic | First Time Since 1950 World Series Sadly Void Of Soul

Marquis Grissom Had Devastating Five-Tool Talent | The MLBbro Was A Perennial MVP Candidate In The 90s

Marquis Grissom Had Devastating Five-Tool Talent | The MLBbro Was A Perennial MVP Candidate In The 90s

Over a 17-year career, Marquis Grissom was a two-time National League stolen base king and All-Star outfielder for the Montreal Expos, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants between 1989 and 2005. The centerfielder is also a World Series champion and four-time Gold Glove recipient, who finished in the Top 13 of MVP voting four times.