Nations Top High School Baseball Players Return to San Diego for 2009: Baseball Showcase

Nations Top High School Baseball Players Return to San Diego for

The baseball showcase features an East versus West matchup of the nation's top high school players following their junior year.

For the second consecutive year, the Aflac Baseball Classic will be played in a major league venue. Last year's showcase was played at Los Angeles' historic Dodger Stadium. The Aflac Baseball Classic is more than just a game: It is part of Aflac's ongoing commitment to the fight against childhood cancer, with proceeds benefiting Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Since 2003, the Classic has generated nearly $685,000 for charity. "The Aflac Baseball Classic showcases baseball's stars of tomorrow, and also allows us to raise significant funds for local hospitals that share our passion in the fight against pediatric cancer. This year's benefitting hospital is Rady Children's Hospital," said Jeff Charney, Aflac's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "The city of San Diego has always offered tremendous support for this game and we are thrilled to bring it back to the community for another year." Ozzie Smith, Hall of Fame shortstop and former San Diego Padre, will again return as the Aflac Baseball Classic's honorary chairman. In addition to helping promote the Classic, Smith will be on-site in San Diego for game-week activities and to spend time with the players. This will be Smith's third stint as honorary chairman. Past honorary chairmen have included Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson (2006), Cal Ripken Jr. (2004, 2005) and Stan Musial (2003). "It is an honor to once again be named honorary chairman for such a prestigious high school baseball showcase and return to the home of my first major league team," Smith said. "This game has risen to such a level that the players have a unique opportunity to showcase their talents in front of a national audience and MLB scouts -- an opportunity I wish I had starting out." Today also marks the release of the full 40-player roster for the 2009 Aflac Baseball Classic. Aflac All-Americans are chosen by the experts at the official selection partner, Perfect Game USA. Aflac Baseball Classic alumni have made a huge impact on Major League Baseball's first-year player drafts. Since the game's inception in 2003, 62 alumni have been selected in the first round, including three No. 1 overall selections: Matt Bush (2004, San Diego) and Justin Upton (2005, Arizona), and this year's top pick, Tim Beckham (2008, Tampa). Ten Aflac All-Americans were taken in the first round of the 2009 draft, including the No. 3 pick, Donavan Tate, by the Padres. San Diego also drafted 2008 Aflac All-Americans Everett Williams and Keyvius Sampson.

The Aflac Baseball Classic is considered the country's marquee prep All-American event. Participants must have just completed their junior year of high school, be in good academic standing and display qualities off the field that embody baseball's ideals, including discipline, determination and hard work.

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