RBI Program Paying off for Cleveland’s Covelli Crisp

Snap, Crackle, Pop: Coco Crisp. Who doesn’t love late October baseball? As an exciting World Series has just come to a close, we highlight the career of Covelli Crisp, outfielder for the Cleveland Indians, known by many as Coco Crisp. The road he’s taken to get to this point makes him our throwback Thursday Athlete CRUSH.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Coco got involved with Major League Baseball (MLB) at an early age. He was a part of MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities Program (RBI), a youth initiative designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball. The program was created in 1989 in Los Angeles, right in Coco’s back yard, and now serves more than 200 communities.

The goal of the RBI program is to ultimately increase the number of talented baseball players out of urban communities, promote inclusion among minorities, encourage performance on and off the field, and teach the value of teamwork. The program has given opportunity to a number of children since its inception. And as Coco moves on from participating in his second World Series, it is important to understand where players like him came from and the paths that were provided for him.

Since moving on from the RBI program, Coco has put together a long, productive career that spans 15 years in the big leagues with four different teams. He began his career in Cleveland in 2002, before landing in Boston in 2006, where he would win a World Series trophy the following year. He would then go on to play for Kansas City and Oakland for the next several years. Early this past season, however, a trade would send Coco back to where it all started – Cleveland.

A savvy veteran and switch hitter, Coco brings a lot of experience to the field, as he proved to be a critical part of Cleveland’s playoff run this season. His calm character and clutch contributions specifically helped position Cleveland to compete for their first championship since 1948. Shown below, his solo home run against Toronto in the ALCS served as a final blow that sent the Indians to the World Series.

The 37-year-old veteran has also shown true grace and dignity in the Indians playoff run. Along the way, he’s served as a Role Model to the young, but talented Cleveland team. Coco’s story gives hope to many young baseball players participating in the RBI program across the country. And to all young baseball players for that matter.

He is living proof that reviving baseball in urban areas can make a difference and that investing in the next generation of talent is critical to the progress of the game. And as the RBI program continues to grow, the story of Coco Crisp will only give hope to more young baseball players looking to use baseball as their opportunity.

 

Follow Coco Crisp on Instagram @cococrisp4real and Twitter @Coco_Crisp

Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff

Posted 10 November 2016