Saffron Restaurants reservation Scott Yelle honors late son with baseball tour and visits Chase Field

Scott Yelle honors late son with baseball tour and visits Chase Field

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PHOENIX – Scott Yelle’s nationwide baseball tour to honor his late son Jackson and raise money for youth programs shut down from Chase Field for the Diamondbacks’ game against the Reds on Tuesday.

Scott took Jackson to his first baseball game when his son was five years old in 2007. As Red Sox fans living in San Francisco at the time, they got to see Boston play the Oakland Athletics.

Ultimately, Scott and his son Jackson made it a goal to visit all 30 MLB ballparks together. They bonded as fans, and Jackson kept that love of baseball going by playing club ball at Elon College.

But the Yelle family suffered an unthinkable tragedy on April 30, 2023, when 21-year-old Jackson was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, while traveling with his team.

Grief led the Yelles to create the Jackson Yelle Family Foundation, and Scott embarked on a nationwide mission to visit all 30 ballparks and donate $1,000 to each team’s Nike Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program.

“Jackson and I had started the trip, we just realized we’d been to four or five ballparks and thought, ‘Hey, we should try to go to all 30.’ And when he died a year ago, we were only at 12,” Yelle said Arizona Sports.

“I was like, ‘I really need to figure out a way to complete the trip and see how we can raise some money and give back at the same time.’ Just had the idea. I spread the word to the baseball community I knew. A close family friend is Trey Wingo. And he said, “Hey, you should check out Major League Baseball’s Nike RBI program. So I did that and then I contacted the MLB and the rest is history.

Scott Yelle visits Diamondbacks

Yelle – wearing a custom D-backs jersey and Elon baseball cap – met with Diamondbacks star Corbin Carroll and manager Torey Lovullo before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to reliever Ryan Thompson. He clearly had some practice and delivered an attack.

Watching the Diamondbacks play the Reds was his first experience seeing a game at Chase Field, his 22nd ballpark on the trek. Yelle visited Seattle on Monday and heads west to Angel Stadium and Dodger Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. He plans to wrap up the tour with the Detroit Tigers on June 9.

“One of (Jackson’s) old high school basketball teammates came to see me in Tampa because he goes to the University of Tampa,” Yelle said. “Another basketball and baseball teammate joined us in (Philadelphia). It’s a mix. His roommate and his mother are going with me to the last three stadiums. It was nice that people joined me.”

Yelle challenged 100 Seattle fans to donate $10 to the foundation promised to match the amount on top of Monday’s $1,000 donation. Fans donated $1,235 for charity.

Impact of the Jackson Yelle Family Foundation

The original goal of Yelle’s tour was to raise $25,000, with $18,000 going to the Nike RBI program. He wrote after the Mariners game that the foundation had raised nearly $23,000.

MLB’s Nike RBI Initiative is a youth outreach program that provides resources and support to baseball and softball organizations serving underserved children and communities. The program’s missions are to increase participation in baseball and softball in underserved communities, provide academic support and teach life skills.

The D-backs’ Nike RBI program launched in 2020 and offers free clinics in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the Valley.

The foundation also established a scholarship in Jackson’s name for a senior at Nauset Regional High School, his alma mater, worth $1,000 per year. It has also upgraded the Elon Club’s baseball and softball fields, doubled donations to the Nauset Booster Club and is working to complete an Elon grant.

Scott serves as secretary and treasurer. Jackson’s mother Andrea Yelle is the vice president and his sister Lexi is the president.

The Elon Club baseball program raised $40,000 at the time of Jackson’s death to help establish the foundation.