CHARLOTTE — Justin Best, of Cornelius, is set to play baseball for Florida State University and has a goal to get more Black players in the game.
“I was always the only Black player on the field whenever I played a game,” he said.
Justin Best and his father, Rick Best, are sponsoring a baseball clinic from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Tuckaseegee Park.
“They’ll know how to throw properly,” Rick Best said. “We’ll give them good hitting techniques.”
Major League Baseball has seen a decline in the number of Black players since 1981, according to the Society of Baseball Research.
Rick Best said there are two factors that go into that statistic.
“At one point, African Americans were highly engaged in baseball at the next level, for sure,” he said. “But the decline would be two factors: access to it, cost and competing with two other sports.”
Justin is one of the top high school outfielders in the country and got his start with a bat in hand at 5 years old.
By the time Justin was 12, he had hit 46 home runs in a season.
He then had offers to play D1 when he was 12.
“I want to help give back so kids can go as far as they can and reach their goals one day,” Justin said.
Young players, including Camden Johnson, are excited about attending the Carolina Metro Reds annual baseball clinic.
“My mom was telling me about it, and I was, like cool I get to go and work with one of the best high school players in the country,” Johnson told Channel 9. “So, I was happy about it.”
He said the chance to be around athletes, including Justin, will motivate him to chase his own goals.
“He is on the path that I want to be on, and he’s pretty much putting me on the path I want to be on,” Johnson said.
More than 90 kids are registered to attend the inaugural baseball clinic.
If you are interested, sign up here.
VIDEO: Charlotte foundation helps kids on and off the baseball diamond
©2022 Cox Media Group