For the 12th straight year the annual Urban Invitational tournament renamed the Andre Dawson Classic. Major League Baseball (MLB) yearly collegiate tournament showcase baseball programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Last year the event re-branded itself becoming the Andre Dawson Classic, who had a stellar 21-year MLB career.
This year’s tournament will take place from February 15-17. The Andre Dawson Classic opens the season in New Orleans for seven NCAA Division I baseball programs from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) including one team from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
The SWAC teams will feature Alabama State University (third appearance), Alcorn State University (fifth appearance), Grambling State University (eighth appearance), Prairie View A&M University (fifth appearance), Southern University (12th appearance), University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (second appearance).
Florida A&M University, from the MEAC is making its first appearance as well as the Eastern Kentucky University baseball team. FAMU game against Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 16 will air live on the MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET.
Dawson an alumnus of Florida A&M, drafted out of (FAMU) was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame was an eight-time All-Star who racked up 2,774 hits, 1,591 RBIs and 498 home runs. Dawson is one of five players in MLB history with 400-plus homers and 300-plus steals who won Rookie of the Year in 1977 and MLBs Most Valuable Player in 1987 as an outfielder with the Montreal Expos (1976–1986), Chicago Cubs (1987–1992), Boston Red Sox (1993–1994), Florida Marlins (1995–1996).
The 2019 Classic celebrates the sixth straight year that the City of New Orleans has hosted the tournament. The eight-team, round-robin event will be played at the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy, with games starting at noon on Friday and concluding Sunday evening.