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Exhibit reception, panel kickoff Cactus League season

Baseball is back and the public is invited to a free reception and panel discussion Feb. 15 focused on the Cactus Leaguelinks to external site and the first players to be inducted into the Cactus League Hall of Fame.links to external site

The reception takes place at 5 p.m. in the main exhibit space of Scottsdale’s Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. The library is hosting a 2,500-square-foot historic baseball exhibit produced by the Arizona Spring Training Experience and the Cactus League Hall of Fame.

The 2017 inductees into the Hall of Fame were not only exceptional players; they were pioneers who helped change the face of sport and society.

Willie Mays, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin and Ernie Banks were African Americans who helped break baseball’s color barrier in the 1940s and ‘50s. They were also among the brightest early stars of the Cactus League.

The timing of their induction is significant. February is Black History Month and 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the breaking of Major League Baseball’s color barrier.

Following the exhibit reception, the library will host a panel discussion on Baseball and Diversity that will cover not only the achievements of players who pioneered integration, but also today’s efforts to grow the sport and make the game inclusive to everyone.

 Panelists include:

  • Tyrone Brooks, senior director of Major League Baseball’s Front Office and Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program
  • George Dean, president of the Greater Phoenix Urban League
  • Charlie Vascellaro, baseball writer and Cactus League historian

The panel will be moderated by Barry M. Bloom, a national writer and columnist for MLB.com.

Mays, Doby, Irvin and Banks will be formally inducted into the Cactus League Hall of Fame during the league’s annual luncheon at 11 a.m. Feb. 22 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road.

Individual seats to the luncheon begin at $75 and are available to the public while supply lasts. To experience this historical ceremony and be part of the Cactus League tradition, email info@cactusleague.com

The 2017 inductee into the Cactus League Hall of Fame also will be honored at the March 4 Spring Training Festival. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Scottsdale’s Civic Center Mall, 7380 E. Second St. 

The exhibit and the Cactus League Hall of Fame are both produced by the Arizona Spring Training Experience, a branch of the non-profit Mesa Historical Museum.

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