Eleven high school seniors of the Chicago Cubs RBI program were offered college scholarships to play baseball, the team announced on Friday.
The Cubs RBI program is run through the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs in Chicago and supported through a grant from Cubs Care, which provided $100,000 to fund the entire program. The program gives nearly 300 inner-city youth the opportunity to play ball and participate in weekend tournaments.
"We're thrilled to honor this group of extraordinary men and their accomplishments as they further their academic and baseball careers," said Cubs executive vice president of community affairs Mike Lufrano.
This is the first year the Cubs Convention is being held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, and players walked down a red carpet when they were introduced for Friday's opening ceremonies. It was also quite a change for Kerry Wood. One year ago, Wood's status with the Cubs was uncertain, and he ended up being the last player introduced, appearing moments after agreeing to a new contract for 2012. The pitcher then surprised the team by retiring on May 18.
This year, Wood was introduced with the Cubs alumni and sat with Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams and Ernie Banks.