Four Rattlers Invited to 2024 HBCU Swingman Classic

Photo Courtesy: @FAMUAthletics Instagram

The 2024 HBCU Swingman Classic selected four Florida A&M (FAMU) Rattlers,  Janmikell Bastardo, True Fontenot, Caleb Granger, and Ty Jackson, to play in the second annual game. 

The Classic, presented by T-Mobile and powered by the Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Baseball Player Association (MLBPA), is the ultimate showcase for 50 Division I student-athletes attending a historically black college or university (HBCU). 

The game will hit off the 2024 MLB All-Star Week in Arlington, TX giving HBCU baseball players the opportunity to showcase their talents on a national stage. The national anthem and ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ will be sung by award-winning gospel artist, Kirk Franklin, and his choir. There will also be a battle of the bands with performances by Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University.

The program began in 2023 by Hall of Famer, Ken Griffey Jr. ‘Junior’ was the first overall pick in the 1987 draft, where he went on to play at center field for 22 years with the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and the Chicago White Sox. Griffey was a 13-time All Star with the seventh most home runs in MLB history. He has seen the decline in African Americans playing for the major leagues due to a lack of exposure and financial reasons and is determined to change that, this game was the first step in that direction with the goal being to provide these student-athletes with an all-star experience.

The players were handpicked by ambassador Ken Griffey Jr., alongside MLB and MLBPA representatives and scouts.

Janmikell Bastardo, the graduate student outfielder, had an outstanding 2024 season, starting all 53 games that he played. Bastardo recorded 68 hits, 55 runs, and 37 RBI’s in addition to eight doubles, eight triples, and one steal. For the second year, Bastardo was named to an All-Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) team, this year the All-SWAC Second Team. 

True Fontenot, the senior infielder, is a true student-athlete being named to the 2024 SWAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll. He also recorded a dominant season, with 61 hits and 42 runs scored. True had 16 multi-hit games, 47 RBI’s and five home runs. Within his first season with the Rattlers, he was SWAC Co-Hitter of the Week and named to the All-SWAC second team. 

Caleb Granger, the junior pitcher, was recognized by the SWAC on many levels. Not only for his athletic achievements, but also his achievements in the classroom being named to the SWAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the second year in a row. Additionally, Granger was named SWAC Pitcher of Week three times, SWAC Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-SWAC after recording a 9-2 win-loss record with 73 strikeouts and starting all 15 games that he appeared in. Finally, Ty Jackson, the senior outfielder. 

Jackson started in 44 games, recording 65 hits, 47 runs, and 41 RBI’s. Additionally, eight home runs, 11 doubles, four triples and nine steals. He was named to the SWAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll, SWAC All-Tournament Team, and the All-SWAC first team. The FAMU Rattlers continue to make their presence known on the big stage as the classic has never been played without them. In 2023, the inaugural year, the selection committee named Ty Jackson, Hunter Viets, Ty Hanchey, Janmikell Bastardo, and Jalen Niles to the roster. 

Florida A&M’s baseball program has produced four MLB players, Hal McRae, Andre Dawson, Vince Coleman and Marquis Grissom, with the potential to have more in upcoming years.

The 2024 HBCU Swingman Classic will take place Friday, July 12th at 8PM. EST at the Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX. It will also be aired on the MLB Network.

Leave a Reply