ST LOUIS – History has shown the sport of baseball is extremely lacking diversity in its talent, coaching, and leadership positions. The Players Alliance was formed in order to highlight Black players in the MLB and provide opportunities for young Black and brown athletes to get exposed to the sport.
On Wednesday, the Players Alliance made an appearance in St. Louis on their Pull Up Neighbor tour. This is the 11th city out of 33 cities nationwide that they will visit in the span of two months.
They have invested $1 million to travel and provide essential items and COVID information resources to underprivileged communities. The MLB also provides bats, gloves, and balls for the players to pass out to children; providing the basics of what they need to get start practicing the game.
“It’s just a start to give kids a chance to even be introduced to the game,” said Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Devin Williams, a St. Louis native and Hazelwood West grad.
Williams reflected on his experience as a young athlete growing up and noted that kids in the city aren’t given the same access to a sport like baseball as kids growing up in the county do.
“Especially because I’m from St. Louis, letting kids see someone else from the here do it opens up that possibility that they are able to do it to, and there are opportunities for them out there in baseball,” he said.
The Players Alliance partnered with non-profit Pull Up Neighbor and Nourish Community with St. Louis Foodbank to make this possible.
They used the 100 Black Men headquarters on Delmar and the Whitefield Foundation for Success on S. Grand as hubs for their cause.
The Whitfield Foundation for Success is a new center for young boys and girls to explore STEM subjects as well as robotics, coding, virtual reality, filming, editing, music, and producing.
“They wanted to partner with us so we definitely were willing and open to have that partnership and just to give back at the same time,” said Mark Whitefield, president of the Whitfield Foundation.
Williams said he’s proud to be part of an organization making an impact in Black communities.
“It’s a tremendous honor for me honestly because there is a very small percentage of Black MLB players, so to be a part of that brotherhood, it means a lot,” he said.
Once they leave St. Louis, the Players Alliance will head to Cincinnati, Ohio.