Jimmie Lee Solomon, ex-MLB executive, dead at 64
NEW YORK (AP) - Jimmie Lee Solomon, a top manager for Major League Baseball under Commissioner Bud Selig, who founded youth academies and helped launch the annual futures game with the best prospects, has passed away. He was 64 years old.
Solomon was among the most senior black officials in baseball when he left in 2012. His daughter Tricia Solomon said Friday that he was found dead in his Houston home and the cause was not immediately known.
"I am surprised and saddened by the news of the death of our former colleague," said baseball commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement. “Jimmie Lee was passionate about providing opportunities for young athletes and promoting baseball in our communities. Our network of youth academies across the country is in large part due to his hard work and dedication. "
The academies began in Compton, California in 2006 and were also established in Houston and New Orleans to revitalize the sport in the city centers and the black players in major leagues. Since Solomon left MLB, other academies have opened in Washington DC, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, Kansas City, Missouri, and West Dallas, Texas. Facilities have also been established in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.
The academy's alumni who made it a major league include J. P. Crawford, Khris Davis, Hunter Greene, Aaron Hicks, Kyle Higashioka, Dominic Smith, Dillon Tate, and Vince Velasquez.
"A great friend and brother," said Houston manager Dusty Baker in a text to The Associated Press.
Solomon was born in Thompsons, Texas and graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.
He joined MLB in 1991 as Director of Minor League Operations and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations in 2000 and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations on June 1, 2005. He was given authority for discipline, safety and baseball management on the field.
With the support of then MLB President Paul Beeston, Solomon started the futures game in 1999, which has become an annual fixture before the All-Star game.
On June 11, 2010, he became Executive Vice President, Baseball Development, and was replaced by Joe Torre in the Operations role the following February. Solomon resigned from MLB on June 7, 2012.
AP baseball writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.
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