Tony Clark envisions a more inclusive sport

Declaring that "the chance to make a real impact, once and for all, is right in front of us," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark chose Jackie Robinson Day to share his vision for increasing baseball's popularity and participation levels among minority youth.

Clark, the first former player and first African American elected by baseball players to lead their union, called on the industry as a whole to engage in a broader effort to expand opportunity for current and future players.

"We have to step up and make a commitment to young athletes and their parents that baseball will create and present opportunities, on and off the field, that other sports can't match," Clark told players in a memo. "The time to act is now."

In the memo, Clark outlined what he calls "The Baseball Career Preparation Project," which would use existing industry growth funds for an unprecedented investment in objectives including:

  • Making available to all players the opportunity to gain an education, starting when they sign their first contract and continuing after retirement from the game
  • Elimination of educational and workplace barriers that disproportionately impact minorities, particularly those within baseball
  • A career transition program
  • A job bank of baseball-centric programs and opportunities
  • A job placement program

 "Simply put, this project would demonstrate to players, to potential players, to their parents and families that baseball -- unlike any other professional sport and most prominent American institutions -- is not just interested in the player, it is committed to the person as well," Clark said.

You can read more about the The Baseball Career Preparation Project in the Washington Post.