TLBR 14U catcher Jaxson West discusses talks the Babe Ruth state tournament and the team’s quest to win the World Series
Since 1954, the Tallahassee-Leon Babe Ruth (TLBR) baseball league has furnished lifelong bonds and countless memories for every kid that stepped onto the diamond.
Although the games are put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization’s invaluable service to the community remains strong.
The TLBR Foundation Alumni Scholarship of Excellence campaign is the current platform of goodwill throughout the region. This year, the group is offering four separate scholarships of $500 to high school seniors who competed in the Babe Ruth League.
“This is why I’ve spent 35 years doing what I’m doing,” said Cindy Meredith, a former coach and current president of the TLBR Alumni Foundation.
“I see the difference that it makes in kids’ lives and the happiness it brings them. It’s a wonderful thing to experience. Being able to help out kids and their families – it just warms my heart.”
TLBR 15U players Argene Lynn, Ethan Miller, Jack Sturgis, and A.J. Thorp celebrate a Babe Ruth World Series title. (Photo: Tallahassee-Leon Babe Ruth)
Candidates must submit an essay between 250 and 500 words on how playing baseball, particularly Babe Ruth baseball, made a positive impact on who you are and who you will become.
Additional required information on the application includes grade point average, volunteer work, years playing Babe Ruth baseball and the college/university the student will attend. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 1.
Over the years, TLBR has served as a springboard for athletes who’ve played in college, the minors and MLB.
Among the notable names with TLBR ties are former professional players John Wasdin, Dean Palmer, Reggie Jefferson and David Ross, in his first year as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.
The fingerprints of the league can also be seen in local collegiate dugouts. Florida State head coach Mike Martin Jr. and Florida A&M pitching coach Bryan Henry were former standouts during their teenage years.
“Playing Babe Ruth was a goal. I was able to put a check mark on the list when I was in little league playing at Levy Park,” Henry said.
“This was when Babe Ruth was invitation only. After games at Levy, I would go to the mailbox to see if I got invited to play Babe Ruth. Once you got the invitation, that was the check mark off the list. That was three years of awesome baseball, learning and memories I’ll never forget.
“It definitely helped further my baseball career.”
In addition to the Scholarship of Excellence, the TLBR is accepting nominations for the Hall of Fame class of 2020. There is no set date for the official announcement of the inductees. The 2019 Hall of Famers included BillieAnne Gay, John Hollenbeck and Martin Jr.
For more information on the scholarship and Hall of Fame, visit tlbralumni.com.
Follow sportswriter Rory Sharrock on Twitter @married2game1.
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