The history of the Keith Hagan Memorial All-American Baseball Classic needs to start with a little background on the origins of the Memphis Tigers organization.
The foundation of Memphis Tigers Baseball’s rich tradition began in 1966, when Don Mills and Johnny Galbreath formed the Davis Park Tigers youth baseball team. The Davis Park Tigers competed in a local little league and played a competitive schedule consisting of over 50 games. In 1969, the dream of creating an organization dedicated to mentoring young athletes through the game of baseball became a reality when Keith Hagan, Don Mills, Frank Donato and Bob Chase chartered the East Memphis Boys Athletic Association (“EMBAA”). As a nonprofit organization, the EMBAA provided the opportunity and financial resources necessary to create multiple teams which competed under the name East Memphis Tigers. The organization experienced rapid growth and over whelming success during the 1970’s and ultimately changed the name to the Memphis Boys Athletic Association to reflect the ever expanding community that was represented by the organization.
The Memphis Boys Athletic Association (“MBAA”) is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization carrying on the goal of developing young athletes by teaching and instilling the time honored virtues of discipline, sportsmanship, integrity and pride through competitive baseball.
The MBAA and its representative teams playing under the Memphis Tigers banner have achieved unparalleled success competing on a national scale. Both the organization and its teams have become a nationally recognized powerhouse program. The Memphis Tigers teams continue to win State, Regional and National Championships, in various age divisions, across many baseball associations.
The Memphis Tigers success has paved the way for hundreds of young baseball players to excel at the high school, college and professional level. Throughout the years, a significant number of Memphis Tigers players have earned scholarships, from an array of colleges and universities, with programs participating at all levels, including Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior College. Numerous Memphis Tigers players have also been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft and have enjoyed tremendous success at both the Minor and Major League levels.
For six decades, the Memphis Tigers have flourished from a depth of coaching talent comprised of former players and longtime coaches. These passionate individuals are honored to be “giving back” to the organization that help shape their lives as baseball players and young men. Memphis Tigers Alumni are a proud fraternity of former players and coaches that share enduring memories and lifelong relationships.
Keith Hagan was the face of the Tiger organization that built programs from 7-18 years old. His 16-18 year old travel teams won numerous state, regional and national titles. Keith was very active in the Tiger organization until his passing on April 9, 2009.
The All-American Baseball Classic was held in Columbus, Ohio in 1985 and 1986. Keith was instrumental in getting the event moved to Memphis is 1987. The tournament has had several names over the years and the current one was adopted in 2009 to honor Hagan.
The tournament has a long history of attracting college and professional scouts. The combination of having multiple age divisions not only works for college coaches always looking ahead, but for competitive youth organizations that bring multiple teams to Memphis. Teams from California to New York and Canada have played in past events.
The level of play was strong when the tournament first came to Memphis and it remains strong today. This event provides a different look against better competition and sometimes in trying circumstances. The playing fields from the University of Memphis and USA Stadium to the best area high school baseball diamonds in the country, allow for teams and their fans to enjoy top notch play on top notch fields.