Making a Difference in Young Lives:
Spearheaded by Jimmie Lee Solomon, the game involves one team of top minor league baseball prospects from the United States competing against a team of prospects from other countries around the World. The All-Star Futures game is an annual baseball exhibition game hosted by Major League Baseball.
Jimmie Lee Solomon has always been an advocate for the underdog. Having worked his way from segregated schooling in the deep south to Harvard Law School, and later becoming a high-powered executive at MLB, Solomon knows the struggle of the underdog firsthand. This compassion has revealed itself in initiatives such as Solomon’s Urban Youth Academy, Civil Rights Game and extensive work with Minor League Baseball.
The All-Star Futures Game is yet another manifestation of Solomon’s empathy with young individuals working hard to make their futures stronger. He conceived the Futures Game while looking for an event to showcase the minor leagues and round out the All-Star week festivities. The first game took place in 1999, and the event has drawn more interest each successive year. It is arguably the best day of the season for prospect watchers. It plays a major role in teams’ player development departments and is a highly coveted notch on the belt for players.
Rosters for the Futures Game are selected by Baseball America magazine, in conjunction with MLB, MLB.com and all 30 major league teams. All organizations are represented, showcasing no more than two players from any organization. 25 players per team are featured, divided into U.S. and World teams based on place of birth. In 2008, however, the United States team was drawn from the pool of players selected by USA Baseball (organizer of the United States national baseball team) for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The Futures Game names an MVP each year. Originally called the Futures Game Most Valuable Player Award, the name was changed to the Larry Doby Award in 2003. Larry Doby broke the color line with Jackie Robinson, joining the Cleveland Indians in 1947. He also had roots not unlike Solomon’s own southern, segregated roots.
The Futures Game is just one of Solomon’s displays of his compassion for those who dream of a career in Major League Baseball, but may be starting off behind their peers. Like his other initiatives, it shows that the underdog should never be neglected, but rather fostered and brought into a position where it can reach its potential.
Hear how Jimmie Lee got the idea for the All-Stars Game: