The Diamondbacks have announced they are launching their own Little League uniform donation program. The program will outfit each team of Little Leaguers with a different throwback jersey. Any of this sounding familiar? It's the exact same program that the Padres created 3 years ago. One thing I didn't mention, their President and CEO Derrick Hall is taking all the credit for the idea.
The program has been on Hall’s mind since his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers nearly 10 years ago, but the idea picked up steam in the past year and a half.
Hall: Back in my Dodgers days, I used to dream up the idea and concept and discuss it with our employees and staff, how we could one day have an all-Dodger league -- maybe uniforms that were reversible where they could be blue one week and white the next -- but never really brought it to fruition. This is a takeoff from that, but even bigger.
Oh, so Hall claims he came up with this idea 10 years ago, but it only picked up steam after the Padres announced, showcased and made their own program wildly successful over the course of the last 3 years? Weird how that works.
Now want to hear how the idea really came about?
The uniform program is the brainchild of Padres president and COO Tom Garfinkel, who came up with the idea last year during a Little League promotion at Petco Park. "We had about 8,000 Little Leaguers doing a parade around the warning track before the game, and it occurred to me that almost none of them were wearing Padres jerseys," he recalls. "They had jerseys sponsored by local businesses, jerseys from other teams. And I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if they were all Padres?'" So Garfinkel and his staff made it so.
I reached out to Tom Garfinkel, the idea man, to ask him what he thought. Here was his response:
"I'm really happy to see it. It's great for those kids and for the game and I hope 28 other teams jump on board too. If any of them want to learn about it, they should call Sue Botos [Padres Vice President, Community Relations] too, she was really the glue behind everything and deserves all the credit for making it what it is."
I too am happy that these Little Leaguers are able to benefit from such a great idea, but let's give credit where it's due.