SEATTLE — The Mariners will host the inaugural "HBCU Swingman Classic" during 2023 MLB All-Star Week in Seattle next July, the league announced Tuesday along with the Major League Baseball Players' Association and Ken Griffey Jr.
The event will become an annual one during MLB's All-Star Week, and feature 50 Division I baseball players from historically black colleges and universities from across the country competing in an "All-Star Game" format.
Student-athletes will be selected by a committee that includes Griffey Jr. as well as representatives from MLB and MLBPA and scouts.
“I am excited to help these kids get the national attention that they don’t receive compared to other college baseball programs. Over the years, we have seen the decline of African American players, not because they don’t want to play, but rather because they haven’t been seen," Griffey Jr. said in a statement. "College scholarships for baseball are not comparative to other sports, and a lot of families cannot afford to pay the difference. So, this effort is the industry coming together to give these kids an opportunity to play the game they love on the national stage. Financial restrictions prevent them from going to schools that give more exposure. The HBCU Swingman Classic will try and close that gap.”
Along with the HBCU Swingman Classic, Seattle will host the MLB All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, All-Star Futures Game, Celebrity Softball Game and the MLB Draft between Friday, July 7 and Tuesday, July 11.
Griffey Jr. played 13 seasons with the Mariners, winning one American League MVP and being named an All-Star 11 times.