Major League Baseball, in a joint statement with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., has made a significant announcement regarding the MLB All-Star Game. A new showcase for athletes attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities is coming to the Midsummer Classic.

MLB and Griffey Jr. announced the HBCU Swingman Classic. They described the HBCU Swingman Classic as “an annual All-Star experience” for baseball players attending HBCUs.

This experience would culminate in an All-Star Game. However, the event is “philanthropic & educational” in nature. The first HBCU Swingman Classic will take place in Seattle at the 2o23 MLB All-Star Game. Griffey Jr. played 13 seasons in Seattle during his Hall of Fame career.

“I am excited to help these kids get the national attention that they don’t receive compared to other college baseball programs,” Griffey said in a statement. “Over the years, we have seen the decline of African American players, not because they don’t want to play, but rather because they haven’t been seen.”

“This effort is the industry coming together to give these kids an opportunity to play the game they love on the national stage. Financial restrictions prevent them from going to schools that give more exposure. The HBCU Swingman Classic will try and close that gap,” the Hall of Famer continued.

The MLB All-Star HBCU showcase is another event created by the league to encourage more diversity in the sport. They also created the Hank Aaron Invitational, a special showcase game for the best high school players in the country.

The 2023 MLB All-Star Game Week will take place from July 7 through July 11. Among the events taking place include the Celebrity Softball Game, MLB Draft, and MLB All-Star Futures Game.