written by John Young
John Young was born February 9, 1949 in Los Angeles, California. The son of Thelma and Louis Young grew up in south central Los Angeles. He attended Ascension Catholic School. After graduating from Ascension Catholic School, he attended Mount Carmel High School where he was Student Body Vice President and an All League baseball and basketball player. Upon graduation, the Cincinnati Reds drafted him. After declining a contract with the Reds he entered Chapman College in Orange, California. Young was a member of the 1968 Chapman College NCAA Division II National Championship Baseball Team.
In 1969, he signed a contract with the Detroit Tigers after being selected in the 1st Round of the amateur draft. He played six years in the Tigers’ organization, reaching the major leagues in 1971. His playing career ended in 1977 as a player/coach in Little Rock, Arkansas, the AA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
He attended college in the off seasons (Fullerton College, Bowling Green State University, Alabama State University), and finished at Auburn University in 1978 in Secondary Education. Young’s education was paid through the Professional Baseball Players Scholarship Plan.
In 1978 he became an associate scout for the Chicago Cubs in Montgomery, Alabama. The legendary John "“Buck" O’Neil served as his supervisor and mentor. From 1979 to 1983 he worked for Detroit as the minor league batting instructor, scout and became baseball’s first African American Scouting Director when the Tigers promoted him to the post in 1981. He also worked in the scouting departments for San Diego and Texas before joining the expansion Florida Marlins. Young served as the Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs from 1994-96. From 1979 to 1887, he signed 21 major league players to their first professional contract. Three of the players (Howard Johnson, Glenn Wilson, and Rob Nen) were major league all-stars.
In 1989, he founded the RBI (Reviving Baseball in inner cities) program in south central Los Angeles. In, 1992, after assisting St. Louis and Harlem, NY, he handed over administration of RBI to Major League Baseball. Currently, RBI programs are in 243 cities worldwide.
Young was inducted into the Chapman University Hall of Fame in 1989 and the recipient of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Commitment to Youth Award in 1990. In 1991, the Florida Marlins nominated Young for the Denver Kiwanis Club’s Branch Rickey Award.
Since 1998, John has been employed by Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner, assisting with the RBI Program. Young and wife Sheryl reside in Irvine, California and have three children, Dorian, Jon and Tori.