Jimmy Wynn Training Center opens at Urban Youth Academy
By Rachel Frey
The Jimmy Wynn Training Center at the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy was dedicated today, June 24, in a ceremony that honored the former Astro’s career and community service. Representatives from the Houston Astros, Minute Maid, Grand Slam for Youth Baseball (GSFYB), Major League Baseball, and other civic and community leaders attended the dedication. GSFYB ambassadors Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, and Brad Mills were also present.
The center is this summer’s field refurbishment project for GSFYB, which is a partnership between the Astros and Minute Maid. The center has 3,412 square feet of multi-use space covered in artificial turf, two cable-suspended batting cages, umpire/staff locker rooms with a shower, and two Yoshida pitching machines, which were donated by Mr. Tadashi Yoshida and shipped in from Chiba, Japan. Major League Baseball also assisted with the completion of this project.
Milo Hamilton was one of the first people to speak, and instructed attendees to, “honor [Jimmy] the way he should be honored. You’re honoring one of the greatest citizens and baseball players.”
Jimmy has been the ambassador for GSFYB over the past six years, and according to Fred Arnold from GSFYB, he cried when they told him the center was to be named after him.
“Come out and learn the game of baseball, learn the facts of life– you have no excuse now,” Jimmy said. “If you need me I’ll be available. I might be slow, but I’m available.”
Jimmy Lee Solomon, who is from the Houston area and is an Executive Vice President of Baseball Development of Major League Baseball, was also present to celebrate the opening.
“This is more than a building– it’s more than the bricks and steel,” Solomon said. “It is a catalyst for change in the community. Kids in areas like this have no chance at the American Dream. We must provide hope to them [through opportunities like the center]. The worst poverty we can leave children in is the poverty of hope.”