This summer, more than 100 current and former Black professional baseball players came together in the wake of social injustices to form The Players Alliance, a non-profit organization to create an inclusive culture within baseball and the community.
Recently, the Players Alliance partnered with Pull Up Neighbor, a Black-owned community response team, to provide direct support to communities in need. The “Pull Up Neighbor Tour” is a two-month, cross-country mobile tour to aid communities of color in a safe, socially distant and responsible way. At each stop, the tour offers baseball gear and equipment to Black youth, a pop-up pantry in conjunction with local food banks, COVID resources like face masks and hand sanitizer, and special gifts from MLB and the local clubs.
Members of the Tigers organization joined the tour for its stops in Flint and Detroit. They included vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila, pitching coach Chris Fetter, and current players John Schreiber and Werner Blakely, Jr. All met directly with community members and helped distribute necessary aid.
“The efforts being made by The Players Alliance is inspiring, especially around the holidays,” Avila said. “As an organization, we’re proud of our players, both past and present, who are actively involved. It’s important we support their goodwill and it speaks volumes of the character of the players who are uplifting lives in the black communities. The commitment they have made is impressive — to travel across the country with this tour, especially during the pandemic — all to supply meals, PPE and baseball equipment in Detroit and Flint is wonderful. The Players Alliance is making a lasting impact.”
The tour was funded by a group of Players Alliance members who donated their game-day salaries to the organization. This amount was matched by MLB, allowing The Players Alliance to expand their reach to the communities most in need. Over the past 5 years, the MLB Players that make up The Players Alliance have collectively donated more than $40M to support Black communities across the country.
“I am so proud of the young Black baseball players that formed The Players Alliance,” Willie Horton, Detroit Tigers legend, said. “I stand alongside The Alliance in its investment in Black communities beyond baseball, and applaud its founders and members — including current and former Tigers players — for working to provide opportunities at every level of the game, and to combat racial prejudice in the places we live and play.”