Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement today regarding the passing of former player, front office executive, scouting director and founder of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program John Young, who was 67:
“All of us at Major League Baseball are saddened by the loss of John Young, a trailblazer and champion of both professional and youth baseball. Following a championship collegiate baseball career and a Minor and Major League playing career that spanned from 1969 through 1978, John became the first African-American director of scouting when he was hired by the Detroit Tigers in 1981. He went on to scout for several clubs, including the Marlins, Rangers, Padres and Cubs, signing 21 future Major Leaguers to their first professional contracts. It was in this capacity that he would achieve his most enduring accomplishment – the founding of the RBI program.
“John personally started RBI in 1989 in his home city of Los Angeles with less than 200 young men. With John’s guidance, MLB assumed the operations of the program in 1991, and it has since grown to serve 230,000 young men and women in 200 cities across the United States, Canada, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The legacy John has left with the RBI program is evident in the impact it has had on young people who have grown to be important contributors to our society as teachers, police officers, doctors, youth coaches and as professional baseball players. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to John’s wife Sheryl, their children Dorian, Jon and Tori and their entire family, as well as his many friends throughout our game.”