Noticing the dwindling number of children from inner city areas involved with baseball, the Phillies decided to take action and created the Phillies Jr. RBI League program in 1989. Geared toward children aged 12 and under in areas that had not housed an organized baseball league in almost 20 years, the Jr. RBI Leagues benefited 400 children. Since that time the program has grown to encompass over 6,000 boys and girls playing both baseball and softball in more than 50 locations throughout Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
The success of the program lies in its noncompetitive nature. Children learn that winning is not the most important aspect of the game, rather they are encouraged to learn the rules, proper techniques and to have fun while playing while at the same time being a good teammate and displaying good sportsmanship. But as the Jr. RBI League children entered their teen years, we decided that it was time to implement a program that would include the children who had already become hooked on the game through their Jr. RBI League participation and thus the RBI League was born.
Chase Utley is back as the Jr. RBI/RBI Chairman for the sixth straight year.
Chase loves working with the children and has met with members of the Jr. RBI and RBI Leagues on several occasions to give baseball tips, answer questions, sign autographs and help hand out gloves to those in need.
Throughout the course of the year, the members of the Phillies Jr. RBI League participate in various events.
On August 10 members of the Phillies Jr. RBI and RBI Leagues were invited to Citizens Bank Park to take part in the PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) a public awareness campaign developed by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in 2004 to combat child obesity. Through a series of fitness programs at all 30 MLB ballparks, PLAY was designed to encourage youth throughout the country to be active, eat right and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Phillies Head Trainer Scott Sheridan and Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Dong Lien taught participants how to stretch and warm-up their bodies and ran them through a number of exercise used by the Phillies players. Brad Lidge took time to speak to the participants about the importance of exercise and eating properly and shared with them his work with the Food Trust which helps to bring healthy food options to local schools and corner stores throughout Philadelphia.
During the All-Star break a team composed of 6 players from Whitman Park in Camden, New Jersey and 6 from Overbrook A.A. 51 in Philadelphia represented the Phillies Jr. RBI program as they traveled to St. Louis to play in a friendly competition tournament - the Jr. RBI Classic presented by KPMG - against 15 teams from across the country. In addition to playing games, they explored Fan Fest, enjoyed the Futures Baseball Game at Busch Stadium, met with St. Louis' own Nelly and took in the Home Run Derby at a special viewing party hosted by Darryl McDaniel's better known as DMC of Run DMC. The Phillies Jr. RBI League is sponsored by Citizens Bank. Photo gallery
The Phillies hosted their 7th Annual Jr. RBI Coaching Clinic at Martin Luther King Recreation Center on Wednesday, March 2nd. Over forty coaches from all over the Philadelphia region participated in an interactive clinic to help enhance their coaching knowledge. The clinic was instructed by coaches and players of LaSalle College High School and covered the fundamental drills of hitting, fielding, pitching and base running. This clinic allowed RBI coaches to participate in various drills to help them fully understand the reasoning behind each exercise. The hope is to have these coaches instruct the drills to their local teams to help increase the performance of their Jr. RBI players. RBI/Rookie Coaching Clinic photo gallery
The Phillies annually host an umpire clinic for coaches and volunteers. During the clinic, coaches from various Jr. RBI and RBI Leagues learn how to call a game. Instructors explain the different hand gestures that signal different calls, such as a strike. They also discuss the proper field position an umpire should be in to call a play at a base.
During every home game fans can donate new and gently used gloves at the Citizens Bank Kiosk to benefit members of the Phillies Jr. RBI Leagues. Jr. RBI gives children 12 and under from disadvantaged areas the opportunity to play baseball and softball.
Each year the Phillies provide tickets to the children and coaches of the Jr. RBI Leagues. Many of the children have never been to a professional baseball game and this helps motivate them to continue to play the game they love.
Citizens Bank hosted Jr. RBI participants in July for an exclusive "Day at the Park" event at Citizens Bank Park. Jr. RBI players enjoyed playing the Games of Baseball, were able to run the bases and participated in a self guided tour into the Phillies dugout and clubhouse.
The Phillies appreciate the commitment of each Jr. RBI League leader and coach. Their dedication helps children from their neighborhoods play baseball and softball. In recognition for their efforts, the Phillies invite league leaders to a Phillies game and Rooftop dinner party. In addition, Jr. RBI League sponsor Citizens Bank was presented with a special thank you from members of the Jr. RBI League during a special on field presentation. Each season we honor a Jr. RBI Coach of the Year. In 2010 Tyrone Young of Heritage Youth Baseball was presented with this honor.
To qualify to be a Phillies Jr. RBI League, you must be located in an area that serves children who are unable to afford to play in an organized baseball league without assistance, you must have dedicated personnel to organize and run the league. A league is made up of a minimum of four teams of the same age level. You may have more than one league at your location, for example, 7-8 year old league and a 9-10 year old league for a total of at least eight teams.
If you are interested in learning more about the Phillies Jr. RBI Leagues or to see if your organization qualifies, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215.463.1000.