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Atlanta Braves announce dedications to Bill Lucas in SunTrust Park

Dedications coincide with 40th anniversary of Lucas' first season as vice president of player personnel

Feb. 9, 2017

ATLANTA -- In a ceremony Thursday, the Atlanta Braves announced several dedications in SunTrust Park to former ice president of player personnel Bill Lucas in recognition of his contributions to the organization. The dedications coincide with the 40th anniversary of Lucas' first season as vice president of player personnel, which made him the first African-American to oversee a player personnel department in baseball and the highest ranking African-American in Major League Baseball at the time.

The Braves have named the baseball operations conference room after Lucas. The Bill Lucas Conference Room will be used by the baseball operations department on a daily basis, as well as during the most pivotal moments of the year such as the annual First-Year Player Draft.

In addition to the conference room that will bear his name, the street off of Circle 75 Parkway where Braves executives and players will enter SunTrust Park will be named Bill Lucas Way.

Also announced is a new year-long apprenticeship in the Braves baseball operations department. The Bill Lucas Apprenticeship will give an aspiring person of diverse background the opportunity to work through all aspects of a normal baseball operations year -- Spring Training, the regular season, MLB Draft, instructional league and free agency.

With this role, the Braves become the first team in Major League Baseball to have a dedicated apprenticeship program for a diverse candidate in baseball operations. The Bill Lucas Apprenticeship will begin with the 2018 season.

"I was privileged to know and work with Bill during his time with the Braves," said Braves chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk. "As I continue my admiration for his wife Rubye and daughter Wonya, I am thrilled that we can honor Bill and continue to remind our fans of his important legacy with our organization and with Major League Baseball."

Lucas will also be recognized in SunTrust Park with his Braves Hall of Fame plaque, as well as on a pillar that will bear his image on the Lower Level Concourse.

"Bill Lucas was a beloved member of the Braves family and a trailblazer in the baseball community," said John Schuerholz, Braves vice chairman. "He was also a friend, colleague and fellow general manager, so it is with great honor that we recognize him today for his unrelenting passion for the game, which ultimately broke barriers for generations to come."

As vice president of player personnel, Lucas not only played a pivotal role in drafting key players such as Dale Murphy and Bob Horner but hired eventual Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox. Lucas was inducted to the Braves Hall of Fame in 2006 for his immeasurable impact on the Braves organization and on the game.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Lucas attended Florida A&M University and later served as an officer in the United States Army for two years. In 1956, Lucas signed with the Milwaukee Braves and spent six years in the Braves farm system. He transitioned to the front office in 1965 and played an integral role on the transition team that oversaw the organization's move from Milwaukee to Atlanta. Lucas spent more than 20 years with the Braves in a variety of roles, the last of which being the vice president of player personnel from 1976 until his untimely death in 1979. When Lucas assumed vice president of player personnel responsibilities for the Braves in 1976, he became the first African-American to oversee a player personnel department in baseball and the highest-ranking African-American in baseball at the time.

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