Andre Dawson Classic starts Friday with eight college baseball teams


The three-day, 13-game, eight-team Andre Dawson Classic, featuring six historically black colleges and universities, starts Friday at Maestri Field and the New Orleans Major League Baseball Youth Academy.

HBCU teams in the field are Alabama State, Alcorn State, Grambling, Southern, Prairie View A&M and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Also participating are UNO and University of Illinois at Chicago.

The 11th edition of the event, formerly known as the “Urban Invitational,” was renamed in honor of 21-year major league veteran Dawson, who was selected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

     “It is with the utmost appreciation that I take this opportunity to thank MLB for this honor,” Dawson said in a released statement. “I am a product of an HBCU program (Florida A&M) that provided me an opportunity to pursue a college education while chasing a childhood dream. I am both honored and humbled to play a role in empowering students to be leaders in their communities and strive to improve and impact the lives of others.”

Dawson, two-time All-Star Dmitri Young, former major league pitcher Marvin Freeman, and former American League Manager of the Year & current MLB Youth Programs consultant Jerry Manuel will attend various portions of the classic.

Also, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Curtis Granderson, a UIC grad, will throw the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday’s contest between UIC and Southern.

Two of Saturday’s games played at the MLBYA will be televised live on the MLB Network and MLB.com at 2 and 7 p.m. CT.

More than 25 HBCU players who have participated in this tournament have been major league baseball draft choices.

Earl Burl III, who played for Alcorn State, was in 2015 the first player to be drafted out of the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy. Since then, Tyree Thompson (Texas Rangers, 2016) and Tyler James (Kansas City Royals, 2017) have also been drafted out of the New Orleans MLBY.

Here’s the tournament schedule:

Friday

At MLBYA

Noon – Southern vs. University of Illinois at Chicago; 3:30 – Grambling vs. Southern; 6:30: Alabama State vs. Prairie View A&M

At UNO’s Maestri Field

Noon – Alcorn State vs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff; 6 – UIC vs. UNO

Saturday

At MLBYA

2 – UIC vs. Southern; 6 – Alabama State vs. UNO

At UNO’s Maestri Field

3 – Prairie View vs. Alcorn State; 6:30 – Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Grambling

Sunday

At MLBYA

Noon – Prairie View vs. UIC; 3 – Alcorn State vs. Grambling

At UNO’s Maestri Field

Noon – Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Alabama State; 3 – Southern vs. UNO



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