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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2005 > Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree Begins With Arrival of Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield

Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree Begins With Arrival of Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (May 27, 2005) – Dave Winfield, a 2001 inductee of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., arrived Thursday at Little League International in Williamsport, Pa., to take part in the second annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree over Memorial Day Weekend.

“I’m so glad to be here in Williamsport,” Mr. Winfield, vice president and senior advisor of the San Diego Padres, said. “It’s a small town, but it’s got a big name.”

Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Dave Winfield checks out the plaques of Little League graduates who have been enshrined in the Hall of Excellence of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Mr. Winfield attended the University of Minnesota, where he was most valuable player of the 1973 College World Series. Also that year he was drafted by four professional sports teams before signing with the Padres. Mr. Winfield made his major league debut with the Padres in 1973, and embarked on a 22-year playing career that included stops with the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays (where he won his only World Championship in 1992), California Angels, Minnesota Twins, and Cleveland Indians.

“Little League appreciates the support Mr. Winfield has given the Urban Initiative Jamboree,” David James, director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. “In our time working together, Mr. Winfield, the Padres, and Major League Baseball have shown a sincere commitment to growing the Little League program in communities that have historically been under-represented.”

Mr. Winfield amassed a career batting average of .283, hit 465 home runs, collected 3,110 hits, drove in 1,833 runs, was a seven-time Gold Glove winner, and 12-time all-star. He appeared in two World Series.

“I enjoyed playing baseball from eight years old until I was forty…something,” Mr. Winfield said. “And now I’ve passed the torch on to my son, David Jr., who plays Little League in West Los Angeles. In fact, he was going to come with me to Williamsport, but he’s in his league playoffs today.”

Dave Winfield (left) and David James, director of the Little League Urban Initiative, appear on the Ken Sawyer Program on Williamsport radio station WRAK-AM, the flagship station of the Little League Baseball World Series.

Mr. Winfield toured the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum this morning, and attended the Jamboree’s opening ceremony this evening at 7:30 to address the participants, parents, and fans in Howard J. Lamade Stadium, site of the annual Little League Baseball World Series.

“It’s a great thing to watch kids play and participate,” Mr. Winfield, vice president and senior advisor of the San Diego Padres, said. “There’s a common thread here: baseball. It has so many life lessons to be learned. It’s not all about winning. It’s about meeting new people, traveling, learning, and growing.”

Following the talk with Mr. Winfield, every player in the Jamboree was given a new baseball glove, courtesy of New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina’s foundation. Mr. Mussina, who grew up in nearby Montoursville, is a member of the Little League International Board of Directors.

The seeds for the Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree were planted on Aug. 24, 2003, during the Little League Baseball World Series, when Major League Baseball announced it would provide a grant of $250,000 for the Urban Initiative. Part of those funds are being used to make the Jamboree possible. The grant is part of the proceeds from the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Work-Out Day, and will enable Little League to present MLB’s “Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life” educational program to the visiting teams.

Breaking Barriers is an initiative created and operated for Major League Baseball by Sharon Robinson, daughter of the late Jackie Robinson, who in 1947 became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in half a century.

The Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree consists of games, instruction, and other events to be announced. Although scores will be kept in the games, no champion will be declared.

Little League International is paying the costs for transporting the 10 teams, plus dozens of adult volunteers and parents. Housing for three nights, plus meals, will be provided for the teams in Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove, where Little League Baseball World Series teams live for two weeks each August.

The specific regular season team from each league was chosen by that league’s board of directors. One volunteer umpire from each league also is participating.

Mr. Winfield addresses the media during a news conference at the museum.

The public is invited to all of the Jamboree events. There is no admission charged.

Profiles of all teams in the Jamboree can be found here.

Also attending this year’s Urban Initiative Jamboree are several executives from Major League Baseball, including Tom Brasuell, vice president of community affairs in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball.

Tony Richardson, a Little League district administrator from New Jersey, is on hand displaying his personal collection of Negro League baseball memorabilia at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum throughout the Jamboree.

Participating in the Jamboree are Little League teams from the following cities/leagues: Gary, Ind. (Gary Midtown Little League); Newark, N.J. (St. Francis Xavier Little League); Tampa, Fla. (Northwest Little League); New York (Parkchester Little League); Atlanta (Ben Hill Little League); Meriden, Conn. (Jack Barry Little League); Houston, Texas (Dixie Little League); Los Angeles (City of Angels Little League); Whiteriver, Ariz. (White Mountain Apache Little League); and Harrisburg, Pa. (Harrisburg American Little League).

The specific regular season team from each league was chosen by that league’s board of directors. One volunteer umpire from each league also is participating.

The Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree consists of games, instruction, and other events to be announced. Although scores will be kept in the games, no champion will be declared.

Little League International is paying the costs for transporting the 10 teams, plus dozens of adult volunteers and parents. Housing for three nights, plus meals, will be provided for the teams in Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove, where Little League Baseball World Series teams live for two weeks each August.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.
 

Dave Winfield speaks to parents, managers, coaches and players at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, site of the annual Little League Baseball World Series.