Written by Thomas Scott
July 22, 2019
Many theories have been tossed around attempting to explain the decline of black youth in baseball. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged the issue saying:
MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred
“We’re aware of the fact that the numbers are low. That’s why we have in place programs that are designed not only to increase the number of African-Americans playing the game, but also to specifically address the pitcher-catcher issue.“
Incoming freshman, Caleb Hines doesn’t care about any perceived limitations placed on black baseball players; he’s too busy shaping his own narrative. Through hard work and determination Caleb hopes to leave his legacy at Prairie View and inspire more black players to choose HBCU baseball programs.
It Was All A Dream
For as long as he could remember, Caleb played both football and baseball. He spent his first two years at Plano East High School primarily focusing on playing quarterback. After his sophomore season, Caleb decided to quit football and dedicate himself to becoming the best baseball player he could. This decision would later pay huge dividends! By his junior year, Caleb had shown enough potential to be invited to the MLB Dream series.
In 2017, the MLB partnered with USA Baseball to create the Dream Series. Each year during Martin Luther King weekend, a select group of more than 60 top high school black pitchers and catchers are invited to this special development camp. The players train at MLB facilities and have the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of professional scouts and college recruiters.
Caleb cites this experience as a major turning point for him. At the Dream Series, he received coaching and mentorship from MLB greats such as Jerry Manuel, LaTroy Hawkins, and Patrick Mahommes Sr. Overall, Caleb’s time at the Dream Series helped him believe he could turn his dreams of playing college baseball into a reality.
After this camp, Caleb was also invited to the Hank Aaron Invitational and the MLB Breakthrough Series in Compton, California.
Why Prairie View?
By his senior season, Caleb had received heavy interest and or offers from UC-Berkley, Tuskegee, University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Alcorn, Prairie View A&M, Grambling, and Mississippi Valley State. Eventually Caleb narrowed his list of schools down to six and made his decision in a viral post on Twitter.
Despite receiving offers and interest from several PWI’s, it was important for Caleb to attend a HBCU. In high school, he was the only black senior on the entire baseball team and had no desire of repeating this experience in college. While interviewing Caleb he shared one of his favorite quotes:
“Any black man with knowledge, is a dangerous black man. “Author Unknown
Prairie View appealed to Caleb for a variety of reasons. First, he would be able to stay close to his Mother who he credits as a main source of his motivation. In addition, he loved the business program, modern feel of the campus, elite workout facilities, and how the team welcomed him in during his official visit during Prairie View’s homecoming.
In our conversation, Caleb emphasized how getting an education is his most important goal. He aspires to make the Dean’s List and ultimately get his Master’s degree just like Mom.
On the diamond, Caleb would like the Panthers to compete in every game. He would like to start at pitcher or at least be a key member of the rotation. In order to do this, Caleb must stay humble, eager to learn, and willing to become a leader.
As a team, Caleb hopes the Panthers can not only make it to the NCAA Tournament but play well enough to make it Omaha for the College World Series during his tenure. Ultimately, he’s out to prove that HBCU baseball teams can compete with anyone, anywhere, at any time!