Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has invited Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox organization to come to American Samoa to conduct a baseball clinic and scout the Territory’s up-and-coming baseball talent.
In a July 18, 2006 letter to Jason McLeod, Scouting Director for the American League’s (AL) East Boston Red Sox, Faleomavaega personally invited McLeod to travel with him to American Samoa to see the raw talent that exists in the Territory. Jason McLeod is the grandson of the late Chief Pauga Viliamu Hunkin Faiivae of Leone, American Samoa.”
“As I mentioned in my letter, I believe that American Samoa is an untapped resource for U.S. college and professional baseball programs,” Faleomavaega said. “Our Little League program in American Samoa is strong, with many of our young athletes continuing to play throughout high school. Sadly, for many of our potential baseball stars, their baseball careers end before they begin, because there is virtually no recruiting in American Samoa to provide scholarships to college.”
“But one needs look no further than last year’s Little League Baseball World Series Championship Game to confirm the potential of our Samoan athletes. Michael Memea, the grandson of Mac and Ese Memea of Iliili, American Samoa, hit the game-winning home run for the West Oahu team to seal the victory. Memea’s fellow teammate, West Oahu pitcher Vonn Fe’ao, of Samoan-Tongan descent, struck out opposing batters with fast balls equivalent to 100 miles an hour in the Major Leagues, a feat few Major League pitchers have yet to achieve. As a result of their performances, the Hawaii’s Little League team took its first world title ever.”
“Given the gifted abilities of our Samoan athletes, my hope is that the Red Sox will accept my invitation to conduct a clinic in American Samoa. And, I am hopeful that this will begin an ongoing relationship that will allow our youth in American Samoa to reach their athletic potential by continuing their baseball careers through college and perhaps even professionally.”
“As the outstanding career of Tony Solaita illustrates, Samoan baseball players can succeed at the highest levels of the game. In my opinion, with proper training and with the support of organizations such as the Boston Red Sox, American Samoa could well become the next Dominican Republic as a resource of young, talented players for Major League Baseball,” Faleomavaega concluded.