Rangers unveil field to MLB Youth Academy

Diamond named after Hamilton, who made donation to make it possible

Rangers unveil field to MLB Youth Academy

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers unveiled Josh "Hambone" Hamilton Field to its MLB Youth Academy Thursday afternoon during a ceremony in the outfield of the new field. The team also announced Toyota Motors had donated $1 million to the Academy, which is expected to be completed in spring 2017.

"We [at Toyota] believe everybody deserves a chance to thrive with a facility like this," CEO of Toyota Motors North America Jim Lentz said.

Lentz, Rangers owner Ray Davis, Dallas Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilwoman Monika A. Alonzo, third baseman Adrian Beltre and outfielder Josh Hamilton were some of the many dignitaries on hand for the ceremony.

"Whatever you can do while you're in [the game] to give back to the community and help the pastime you love so much, and to have your name attached to it in the future, it's something special," said Hamilton, whose donation to the project made the construction of the field possible.

Hamilton has missed the entire season because of left knee reconstruction surgery. He said seeing the excitement of the community at the field unveiling was comforting, as he looks to get back next year for Spring Training.

The Rangers' MLB Youth Academy is located in West Dallas, and the 17-acre site will provide year-round baseball and softball activity for not just the more than 8,000 kids living in the area, but kids throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and North Texas. When completed, the Academy will hold five baseball fields and will include an indoor facility, as well.

"It's not only for the kids, it's for the families, too," Alonzo said. "That's something we talk about at city hall every day -- providing a better quality of life for our children and our families. That's exactly what we're doing at this location."

Along with Hamilton's donation, it was announced that Beltre had donated a turf field to the Academy's indoor facility. The Academy building will provide baseball and softball activities, along with tutoring, college prep classes, internship programs and much more.

On a hot Dallas afternoon, it became apparent the Academy building might be a popular spot at the complex.

"They're going to have options, which is nice when you look to help the community and keep kids in sports," Beltre said. "… I hope they use this facility to help themselves become not only good players, but good citizens."

Cole Hamels and Prince Fielder are among some of the other Rangers players who have made sizable donations to the project. The Texas Rangers Foundation, MLB Players Association, Dallas-based Mercy St. and the Dallas Housing Authority have been instrumental to the building of the Academy, as well.

"This is a project that everybody in the Rangers organization is proud to be associated with," said Neil Leibman, chairman of the Rangers ownership committee. "Rangers players are among the most generous in all of baseball."

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.