Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig will be among the special guests at the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon on the afternoon of Saturday, August 24th in Chicago, before that evening's Civil Rights Game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers, it was announced today. The two annual events celebrate individuals whose lives have been emblematic of the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement.
Commissioner Selig will be joined by the co-host of ESPN's Pardon The Interruption and columnist for ESPN.com and ESPN Chicago Michael Wilbon; Chicago White Sox legend Frank Thomas, the American League Most Valuable Player in 1993 and 1994; and Detroit Tigers legend Willie Horton. The Luncheon, which is one of the weekend events surrounding the 2013 Civil Rights Game, will honor former MLB All-Star Bo Jackson and music legend Aretha Franklin as recipients of this year's MLB Beacon Awards.
Others scheduled to attend the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon include Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Ferguson Jenkins; White Sox legend and seven-time MLB All-Star Minnie Miñoso; and MLB Educational Programming Consultant and the daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, Sharon Robinson.
The events of MLB's Civil Rights Game were developed to pay tribute to all of those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. The 2013 Civil Rights Game will be played between the White Sox and the Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday, August 24th, airing nationally on MLB Network and locally on Comcast Sportsnet in Chicago and FOX Sports Southwest in Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas. Information on the Civil Rights Game and the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon can be found at MLB.com/civilrightsgame or WhiteSox.com/civilrightsgame.
Commissioner Selig, who was the keynote speaker at the 2012 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, will address the audience, as he has done during each MLB Beacon Awards event. ESPN's Wilbon, a Chicago native who is a former sportswriter and columnist for the Washington Post, will serve as this year's keynote speaker. Thomas will present his 1993 American League West Champion White Sox teammate Jackson with the MLB Beacon of Life, while Horton will present Franklin, who is a Detroit native and a Tigers fan, with the MLB Beacon of Change. Platinum-selling, international recording sensation Charice, who appeared in a recurring role on FOX's Glee and who Oprah Winfrey once dubbed "the most talented girl in the world," will perform at the Luncheon.
Proceeds from the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon will go toward benefiting the Chicago Urban League and La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago. Founded in 1916, Chicago Urban League is committed to empowering African-Americans with the skills and resources needed to enter the economic and social mainstream, including helping Chicagoans find jobs, affordable housing, educational opportunities, and grow businesses. La Rabida is a private, non-profit hospital that serves approximately 7,500 children annually who require primary and specialty care to address complex and challenging medical conditions. Services and programs include treatment for chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and sickle cell disease, in addition to developmental disabilities. La Rabida also specializes in the treatment of children who have been abused, neglected or experienced trauma. As a specialty hospital for extended acute care, it serves patients who need hospitalization for weeks, months, and in some cases even longer. La Rabida is a grant recipient of the White Sox Community Fund.
The 2013 Civil Rights Game is the seventh installation of an annual event that began in Memphis in 2007, centering on an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians. After another exhibition game in Memphis in 2008, the Civil Rights Game moved to Cincinnati (2009-2010) and then Atlanta (2011-2012) as Regular Season contests. As the site of the Chicago Freedom Movement, which some consider to be the most ambitious civil rights activity in the North, the city of Chicago played a crucial role in the Civil Rights Movement. Additional ancillary activities surrounding the Civil Rights Game will include the Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion on Friday, August 23rd and a youth baseball and softball clinic on Saturday, August 24th.