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Major League Baseball, the McLendon Foundation announce creation of the Allan H. (Bud) Selig Mentoring Award11/29/2007 3:35 PM ET
Major League Baseball and the McLendon Foundation are announcing the establishment of the Allan H. (Bud) Selig Mentoring Award, which will be given annually to a deserving athletics administrator who has been at the forefront of creating opportunities for young minorities looking to get into athletics administration.
"Baseball is a social institution with enormous social responsibilities and it is an honor to be recognized for efforts being made throughout the league to bring greater diversity to every aspect of our game," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Since assuming the role of Interim Commissioner in September 1992 and the Commissioner in July 1998, I have made diversity and equal employment opportunity a top priority. We have made progress, but we still have much work to do and I remain committed to bringing about positive change."
The John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Dan Rooney, Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, will receive the first Allan H. (Bud) Selig Mentoring Award at a luncheon on December 18 in Cleveland.
"When our committee looked at the body of work created toward diversity and equality for minorities on Commissioner Selig's watch, this became an easy and obvious choice," stated Kevin Anderson, the Division I-A McLendon Steering Committee chair and director of athletics at the United States Military Academy. "Commissioner Selig, by placing these initiatives on the frontburner of Major League Baseball, has helped raise the awareness of diversity issues that occur, not only in the board rooms of professional organizations, but in the day-to-day occurrences of conference offices, colleges and universities."
The decision to honor Commissioner Selig came by a unanimous vote from the members of the McLendon Foundation Steering Committee, which is comprised of 15 minority Division I-A athletics directors. The Committee also voted to honor a group of six minority pioneers in the fields of collegiate and professional athletics, including former National League President Bill White, who will also be recognized at the December luncheon.
Minority participation throughout MLB is on the rise. Thirty-nine (39) percent of all on-field coaching positions are held by minority group members and female front office representation throughout baseball is 34 percent. In 1989, it was estimated that minorities held just two percent of all front office positions in Major League Baseball. Today that number is in excess of 22 percent.
Under Commissioner Selig's direction, numerous advancements in diversity and equal opportunities have been made throughout MLB, including:
1989 - The Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities (RBI) youth outreach program was established to increase participation and interest in baseball, encourage academic participation and achievement, increase the number of talented athletes prepared to play in college and the minor leagues, promote greater inclusion of minorities into the mainstream of the game, and develop self-esteem and teach the value of teamwork. It is managed in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which became the official charity of MLB in 1997. Since the RBI program began, nearly 175 participants have been drafted by MLB clubs.
1997 - On the 40th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's entry into the major leagues, MLB retired his uniform number, 42, throughout baseball, marking the first time this honor was bestowed on any athlete. April 15th is now known as Jackie Robinson Day throughout MLB.
1998 - MLB established the Diverse Business Partners Program, an economically-driven business initiative established to cultivate new and existing partnerships with minority and women owned businesses, by increasing opportunities for minorities and women to participate in the procurement activities of MLB. The league has spent more than $400 million with diverse businesses since the program was created.
1999 - MLB became the first sports entity to adopt an equal employment opportunity policy. The MLB policy requires clubs to interview minority applicants for openings in five senior club positions. This year also marked the creation of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF), MLB's joint initiative with the Players Association that has awarded more than $10 million in grants to both rural and urban communities throughout the world.
2006 - MLB launched the Executive Development Program, a two-year rotational program targeted to accelerating the pipeline of high potential candidates to the role of assistant general manager as well as other business areas. The MLB Urban Youth Academy also began in 2006 on the campus of El Camino College, Compton Center, in California. The Academy hosts clinics for baseball and softball instruction, umpiring, groundskeeping and sports photography.
2007 - MLB played its inaugural Civil Rights game in Memphis, TN, and will host it as an annual event.
About the John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Foundation
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.