Astros to host Orioles in 2014 Civil Rights Game
Major League Baseball announced today that the Houston Astros will host the Civil Rights Game on May 30 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Astros.com reporter Brian McTaggart, who is live at the press conference announcement, has all the details for you below..
The Civil Rights Game and its ancillary activities are a series of events developed by MLB to pay tribute to those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. The eighth installment of the game will be televised nationally on MLB Network.
“I am pleased to announce the Houston Astros, who have demonstrated a substantial commitment to supporting diversity throughout our industry, as the hosts of Major League Baseball’s 2014 Civil Rights Game,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “The Civil Rights Game and its surrounding events are an opportunity not only for our game to honor those who have fought for equality throughout American history, but also to remind us that the battle against injustice continues. As a social institution that features unprecedented diversity of all races and ethnicities throughout our sport, we are proud to join the Astros in remembering this important era in history.”
Some of the events surrounding the Civil Rights Game include the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, the Baseball & Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion and a youth baseball and softball event.
In addition to the 2014 Civil Rights Game at Minute Maid Park, several events will take place throughout the week, including:
• Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion, May 29: A group of prominent participants will discuss the pivotal role baseball played in the civil rights movement and the game’s continued presence as a social institution in American society.
Previous panelists have included Martin Luther King III, human rights activist and eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Sharon Robinson, MLB educational programming consultant and daughter of Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson; Dolores Huerta, activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers; Ambassador Shabazz, Ambassador-at-large for Belize and eldest daughter of Malcolm X; Branch Rickey III, Pacific Coast League president and grandson of the late Branch Rickey; Thomas Tull, Chairman & CEO of Legendary Entertainment and producer of the featured film “42”; Arte Moreno, principal owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Kenny Williams, executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox; Baseball Hall of Famers Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Dave Winfield; Dodgers legend Don Newcombe; Hall of Fame journalist and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons; and MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds among others.
• MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, May 30: The MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon will honor the recipients of this year’s MLB Beacon Awards, which recognize individuals whose lives are emblematic of the spirit of the civil rights movement.
Past recipients of MLB Beacon Awards include: Baseball Hall of Famers Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks; and also Buck O’Neil, Newcombe, Bo Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Ruby Dee, Aretha Franklin, Morgan Freeman, John H. Johnson, Billie Jean King, Spike Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Carlos Santana, three of the founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire, and Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of the late Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.
Keynote speakers at previous MLB Beacon Award events have included Commissioner Selig, President Bill Clinton, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Julian Bond and Michael Wilbon.
• Youth Clinic, TBD: The youth baseball and softball clinic is an event designed to give young players locally the opportunity to interact with and learn from current and former players. The clinic will take place at the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy, which attracted approximately 1,300 participants in 2013. Interactive aspects will include batting cages, pitching machines and baserunning stations.
The Civil Rights Game began in Memphis, Tenn., in 2007, centering on an exhibition game between the Cardinals and Indians. After another exhibition game in Memphis in ’08, the Civil Rights Game moved to Cincinnati (2009-10), then Atlanta (2011-12) as regular-season games, and last year was hosted in Chicago by the White Sox.
While much of the South was deeply affected during the civil rights movement with violence threatening the well-being of many, Houston played a vital role in achieving peaceful desegregation, making it a crucial part of the overall civil rights effort.