John Young (baseball)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Young
John Young Tigers.jpg
First baseman
Born: (1949-02-09)February 9, 1949
Los Angeles, California
Died: May 8, 2016(2016-05-08) (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 9, 1971, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 25, 1971, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Batting average.500
Home runs0
Runs batted in1

John Thomas Young (February 9, 1949 – May 8, 2016) was an American professional baseball player. He also scouted and worked in the front office. Young played in Major League Baseball for the Detroit Tigers in 1971. He founded Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), a youth baseball program aimed at increasing participation among African Americans in baseball.


The Cincinnati Reds drafted Young in the 27th round of the 1967 Major League Baseball (MLB) draft. Rather than sign with the Reds, Young chose to enroll at Chapman College, where he played for the school's baseball team.[1][2] He was drafted again in the first round, with the 16th overall selection, of the 1969 MLB draft by the Detroit Tigers, at which time he signed. He played two games in Major League Baseball at first base for the Detroit Tigers in 1971, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run batted in.[3] After the 1974 season, the Tigers traded Young to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ike Brookens.[4]

Young rejoined the Tigers as a minor league instructor in 1978, and became a scout for the Tigers in 1979. He was named their director of scouting in 1981.[5] He also scouted for the San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, and Florida Marlins.[3][6]

Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities[edit]

While scouting, Young discovered that there were few African American players chosen in the 1986 MLB draft. After presenting his findings to Orioles' general manager Roland Hemond and MLB Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, Ueberroth contacted Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles, who agreed to fund a youth baseball program in Los Angeles, providing $50,000.[7][8] Young also received funding from the Amateur Athletic Union.[9]

Young organized 12 teams consisting of 180 13- and 14-year-olds for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) in 1989.[7][10] He obtained help from African American players, including Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis, who are from Southern California.[8] MLB assumed operation of the RBI program in 1991.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Young was born in Los Angeles, and graduated from Mount Carmel High School.[1] Young and his wife, Sheryl, had three children, Dorian, Jon and Tori. Young had diabetes, and was admitted into a Los Angeles-area hospital to amputate his leg on May 5, 2016. He died in the hospital on May 8.[12][13]

John Young was born February 9, 1949 in Los Angeles, California. The son of Thelma and Louis Young grew up in south central Los Angeles. He attended Ascension Catholic School. After graduating from Ascension Catholic School, he attended Mount Carmel High School where he was Student Body Vice President and an All League baseball and basketball player. Upon graduation, the Cincinnati Reds drafted him. After declining a contract with the Reds he entered Chapman College in Orange, California. Young was a member of the 1968 Chapman College NCAA Division II National Championship Baseball Team.

In 1969, he signed a contract with the Detroit Tigers after being selected in the 1st Round of the amateur draft. He played six years in the Tigers’ organization, reaching the major leagues in 1971. His playing career ended in 1977 as a player/coach in Little Rock, Arkansas, the AA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

He attended college in the off seasons (Fullerton College, Bowling Green State University, Alabama State University), and finished at Auburn University in 1978 in Secondary Education. Young’s education was paid through the Professional Baseball Players Scholarship Plan.

In 1978 he became an associate scout for the Chicago Cubs in Montgomery, Alabama. The legendary John "“Buck" O’Neil served as his supervisor and mentor. From 1979 to 1983 he worked for Detroit as the minor league batting instructor, scout and became baseball’s first African American Scouting Director when the Tigers promoted him to the post in 1981. He also worked in the scouting departments for San Diego and Texas before joining the expansion Florida Marlins. Young served as the Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs from 1994-96. From 1979 to 1887, he signed 21 major league players to their first professional contract. Three of the players (Howard Johnson, Glenn Wilson, and Rob Nen) were major league all-stars.

In 1989, he founded the RBI (Reviving Baseball in inner cities) program in south central Los Angeles. In, 1992, after assisting St. Louis and Harlem, NY, he handed over administration of RBI to Major League Baseball. Currently, RBI programs are in 243 cities worldwide.

Young was inducted into the Chapman University Hall of Fame in 1989 and the recipient of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Commitment to Youth Award in 1990. In 1991, the Florida Marlins nominated Young for the Denver Kiwanis Club’s Branch Rickey Award.

Since 1998, John has been employed by Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner, assisting with the RBI Program. Young and wife Sheryl reside in Irvine, California and have three children, Dorian, Jon and Tori.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Mount Carmel High School Alumni Foundation". February 9, 1949. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  2. ^ Carr, Al (May 27, 1968). "Theft a Game to Chapman Ace". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 8, 2013. (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b Bloom, Barry M. (February 8, 2006). "Young scores big with RBI program". Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "1974 Detroit Tigers Trades and Transactions". Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "Tigers name Young scouting director". The Windsor Star. Associated Press. October 15, 1981. p. 51. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  6. ^ "Herzog wants to keep his free-agent Angels, but has eyes on others". Star Telegram. November 25, 1991. Retrieved May 9, 2016. (subscription required)
  7. ^ a b Klein, Gary (May 22, 1990). "Program Brings Baseball Back to Inner City". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "MLB's RBI program enters 20th year". May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  9. ^ "Scout Sees Inner Cities` Hope Wasted". Sun Sentinel. May 31, 1992. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  10. ^ Ringolsby, Tracy (February 5, 1989). "Inner-city programs slow to produce major prospects". Ocala Star-Banner. p. 5D. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  11. ^ (May 24, 2013). "About Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities". Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  12. ^ "John Young, founder of youth baseball program, dies at 67". May 9, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  13. ^ Ringolsby, Tracy (May 9, 2016). "RBI program creator John Young dies at 67". Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  14. ^ "Mount Carmel High School Alumni Foundation". Retrieved November 10, 2020.

External links[edit]