Happy Minor League Baseball Opening Day! Even better than MLB Opening Day, MiLB Opening Day features games in 54 communities across the country. To help you prepare, I’ve organized below some information to answer almost any question you might have about MiLB.
The day we’ve been waiting for is finally here! MLB Opening Day is today, with all 30 teams scheduled to play.
With zero days left, today we feature No. 0 for the Frederick Keys, their mascot, Keyote. As we counted down the days until Opening Day, we looked at ten players’ charitable activities – but that was only a sample. Each year, both MLB and MiLB, all of their teams, and many of their players, are involved in their communities in a variety of ways, including running charitable foundations. One such effort is Frederick Keys Cares, which was created by the Frederick Keys in 1999 in memory of Joel Stephens, a minor leaguer who succumbed to colon cancer at age 22 in 1998. Also known as the Joel A. Stephens Memorial Fund, the Fund “awards grants to nonprofit organizations serving Frederick County [Maryland] youth or young adults 22 years of age and younger or religious organizations in need of funding for non-sectarian activities benefiting youth activities.”
With one day left until Opening Day, we’re featuring Michael Taylor of the Washington Nationals. Although he’s No. 3 with the Nats, last year during a rehab assignment with the AA Harrisburg Senators, Taylor wore No. 1. Taylor has been involved in many of the National’s community and charity efforts, including the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. In 2017, Taylor was involved in MLB’s Stand Up to Cancer campaign and was featured in their print PSA.
There have been a lot of players who have worn No. 2, but the player who wore it longest was Derek Jeter, who was No. 2 for the New York Yankees for 20 years. (Red Schoendienst is the second-longest running No. 2 with 13 years with the St. Louis Cardinals.)
In 1996, Jeter established the Turn 2 Foundation, which seeks to help youth avoid drug and alcohol addiction and “Turn 2” a healthy lifestyle. According to the Foundation’s website, it also “strives to create outlets that promote and reward academic excellence, leadership development and positive behavior.”
Maryland native Harold Baines wore #3 for the Chicago White Sox (1980-89, 1996-97, 2000-01), Texas Rangers (1989-90), Oakland A’s (1990-92), Baltimore Orioles (1993-95, 1997-2000). Baines was inducted into the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2009.
Baines currently is a Community Relations Representative for the Chicago White Sox along with Carlton Fisk, Mike Huff, Bo Jackson, Ron Kittle, Carlos May, Bill Melton, Donn Pall, A.J. Pierzynski, Dan Pasqua, Tim Raines, and Mike Squires. With the White Sox, Baines has also served as the team ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, attended the White Sox Volunteer Corps “lunch with the military,” and participated in the White Sox Charities Celebrity Bowling Classic. He also created the Harold Baines Scholarship Fund to help college-bound students.
Howie Kendrick, No. 4 for the Washington Nationals, is about to begin his thirteenth year in the major leagues. Born in Jacksonville, FL, in 1983, Kendrick was selected in the 10th round of the 2002 draft and made his MLB debut on April 26, 2006, with the Los Angeles Angels. In December 2014, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he played two years. After the end of the 2016 season, Kendrick was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He was again traded at the end of July 2017 to the Washington Nationals. He resigned with the Nationals in January 2018 for $7 million over two years.
Throughout his career, Kendrick has been involved with several charities, including Hilarity for Charity, Clayton Kershaw’s annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose event, and Adam Eaton’s Rev Up the Park charity car show event at Nationals Park. Of his charitable initiatives Kendrick has been quoted as saying, “‘To have the opportunity to give back, it means a lot to me.'”
OPENING DAY IS ONLY FIVE DAYS AWAY!!!!!!!! Since we’ve been highlighting younger players the past few days, I thought I’d share some facts on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 5, Corey Seager. The almost-24-year old, shortstop was drafted in 2012 by the Dodgers and made his Major League debut on September 3, 2015. He was selected for the National League All-Star team in 2016 and 2017, and named NL Rookie of the Year in 2016. He is also a 2-time recipient of the Silver Slugger Award.
In December 2016, after a very successful rookie season, Seager joined fellow Dodger Joc Pederson in hosting a youth baseball camp in Hawaii. Proceeds from the event benefited a local foundation.