BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Willie Hutch Jones Educational and Sports Program launched its 38th season Friday, on a very special day in sports history.
Friday marked the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. The Willie Hutch Jones program was designed to provide kids and teens in Buffalo with strong, positive influences and special training in sports. Organizers said they’ve served more than 10,000 kids over the past four decades.
“We have never charged a dime for one activity,” Chairman Leroi Johnson said. “And that is because when we grew up in this neighborhood, everything that was done by guys like Jim Horn, Harvey Austin and Ed Harlin — it was free. And we know in the inner city kids can’t afford it.”
The organizers also noted that Jackie Robinson’s spent time in Western New York, as he played against the Bisons when he was a member of the Montreal Royals.