John Young (baseball)

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John Young
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]


  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.

External links[edit]