Banneker City’s goal is to help our children learn healthy competition, sportsmanship, work ethic, teamwork, conditioning and muscle-memory fundamentals through our national pastime and provide a progressive continuum of that education from Tee-Ball (age 4) all the way up through Prep (age 14), in a healthy, safe and encouraging baseball culture.
One afternoon in 2010, a father and son were traveling to their 8U baseball practice at a baseball program across town–miles from their home–when the son pondered out loud, “why can’t we play at Banneker field?”, as they drove past the baseball diamond that had not had baseball programming there in over 10 years (READ MORE HERE). The father contemplatively replied, “That's a good question.” With that battery in their back, Howard University Alumni, Supreme H. Aquil and Will F. Ticer embarked to create a venue for kids to have the opportunity to play and learn the sport of baseball in their community. Banneker City began in 2010 with 2 teams and blossomed to over a dozen teams in less than a year.
Banneker City regularly honors Jackie Robinson–who was a member of the founder’s grandfather’s Cub Scout Troop in Pasadena, CA–and as such, is steeped in Dodger lore for their landmark efforts in diversifying Major League Baseball by acquiring Jackie Robinson, who formerly played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, in 1945.
Banneker City takes its name from the grand architect who finalized the designs of Washington DC in 1791, Benjamin Banneker. In 2010, with name and metropolis in hand, Banneker City began trailblazing the path to grow youth baseball in its city.
In 2011, Banneker City Little League formed the first Little League Maryland District-3 Board–which is now DC District-1–to service all of the Little Leagues in Washington, DC. Banneker City’s Umpire-In-Chief was elected the District Administrator, and Little League International sanctioned Banneker Citys’ Secretary, Treasurer, and Information Officer performing dual roles on the league and district board. They became the founding, executive members of the Washington, DC District-1 Board. The six (6) DC Little League Presidents became official members, and the DC District-1 Board was born. The DC District-1 Board immediately re-drew and updated each DC Little League’s boundary maps, which settled all of the previous territorial disputes between the DC Little Leagues. The District Board also hosted the first-and-only Little League Road Show in Washington, DC, in 2014, which attracted little leagues from as far away as Connecticut and Massachusetts. Since the advent of the DC District-1 Board, the number of Little League programs in the District has increased from six to eight. The District Board oversees the affairs of the DC Little Leagues, including conducting the Little League Tournaments, and now boasts members from all of the little leagues in Washington, DC.
In the summer of 2012, Banneker City hosted the Little League 10U/AAA District Tournament at Banneker Upper Field, with concessions, P/A system, activities, and music. This marked the first time that a Little League Tournament was held outside of Fort Lincoln Park in over 20 years, AND also included all of the fanfare that kids deserve to help commemorate what will be life-long memories. Thereafter, fellow DC little leagues followed suit and began to host Little League District Tournaments at their league’s fields, extending tremendous hospitality to their DC Little League guests. Every summer, exciting and competitive Little League baseball tournament games can be seen on diamonds all over the city of Washington DC.
In 2015, Banneker City met with the Washington Nationals to discuss a plan to have the Washington National players visit the DC Little Leagues and its little league players at their home fields. Banneker City’s Nats Player Visit program was adopted by the Washington Nationals, and brought Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Dusty Baker, Michael A. Taylor, Gio Gonzalez, Jayson Werth, and many other MLB figures to the little league programs and fields in DC.
In 2018, Banneker City’s historical usage of a field for our Tee-Ball program was supplanted by adult programming. With our toddlers’ program displaced, Banneker City was offered the highly-available K. C. Lewis Park as an alternative–a baseball field that had not been used in over 20 years. Banneker City fully embraced the proffered, Hobson's Choice and immediately went to work on the neglected park, with only 4 weeks before the Spring 2018 season was to begin, to make the field playable and the park safe for our kids.
Banneker City accomplished its goal. At the undervalued K. C. Lewis Park, Banneker City installed new bases, added 32 tons of infield dirt, repaired the dugout benches and fences, repaired the existing power shed, built a 2-lane batting cage, and placed two 30-foot storage containers to house league equipment and supplies.
A forgotten park in our community was beautified by its citizens and returned to life by the laughter of Banneker City children and families. Every week, hundreds of Banneker City kids enjoy playing, practicing, and training at the revitalized K. C. Lewis Park.
In 2021, Banneker City hosted the inaugural Sameer Glazerman College Scholarship Dinner at Fogo de Chao, where its namesake recipient was celebrated by his former teammates & coaches, and his Banneker City family.
The Sameer Glazerman College Scholarship is a $2500.00 collegiate scholarship that Banneker City awards annually to its college-bound, high school seniors. This scholarship was enacted to memorialize the power of exemplary conduct under duress.
Sameer attended our inaugural Rookies Camp, and was one of the league’s first registrants in 2010. In 2019, Sameer returned to donate some of his free time back to his home league in the capacity of an umpire. He found himself officiating a Banneker City game against a non-league opponent. In the course of the game, the non-league coach did not know the rules of baseball, and he began to bemoan the umpires’ calls, then the non-league parents followed suit, and then the non-league kids followed in chorus. This only worked them into a fervor and it quickly escalated into these bad actors hurling profanity and verbal threats at our 15 year old volunteer umpire, Sameer. And Sameer with disarming kindness muzzled the mob with, “I don’t mind you talking to me like that, I just wish you wouldn’t do it in front of 10 year old kids.” Order restored! and Sameer was able to continue carrying out his number one duty, which is to ensure the safety of the kids. Only because of his character did that “game” finish.
“I remember fielding over a dozen calls and emails after that game,” remarked league President Supreme H. Aquil. “Normally, when there is a complaint, that’s what you field: 100% complaint. However, everyone acknowledged Sameer’s character and behavior, given the unfortunate situation. It was clear that his character touched everyone in the park at Banneker that evening, even the hecklers, and an already regrettable spectacle was not allowed to spiral further.” In 2022, the Sameer Glazerman Scholarship was created to honor such upstanding and forward-marching students.
Sameer entered the University of Maryland in the Fall of 2022. He returned the following year to present the 2023 Sameer Glazerman College Scholarship to Cardozo High School Class Valedictorian and Banneker City alum, Saul Villatoro, who entered George Mason University in the Fall of 2023. Whose outstanding character will claim the 2024 scholarship?
In the summer of 2022, Banneker City was awarded the ASAP Regional AND National Safety Plan Of The Year Awards by Little League International (READ MORE HERE). For earning the National award, Banneker City won $150,000.00 in lighting equipment from Musco Lighting for Banneker Upper Field.
With this lighting equipment, Banneker City is planning to make Banneker Upper Field the best little league field in DC, with additional renovations, including a concession stand/press box, scoreboard, dugout roofs, and a batting cage outside the center field home run fence.
Latrell “Bam” Martin a.k.a. “The big kid with the big smile.” (April 2, 2005 – June 27, 2016)
Latrell was a great kid who was a joy to work with, and relished being in a leadership role. He played on Banneker City’s 2015 10U Tournament Team, and was well-loved by his teammates and coaches. Latrell got the nickname “Bam,” as a toddler singing the chorus of the Onyx’s song, Slam, with his grandfather, Papa. The infectious chorus goes, “Slam! Let the boys be boys!” However, Latrell would sing, “Bam! Let the boys be boys!” Needless to say, it stuck. Latrell “Bam” Martin, gone, but not forgotten.
Ceph “Bullet Train” Christie (December 6, 2004 – August 5, 2022)
Ceph, a former DC little league prodigy, was a standout high school catcher and a Division-1 college baseball commit. In his spare time, he volunteered his time and expertise teaching Banneker City Majors division kids those same skills and work ethic that garnered him collegiate and MLB suitors. “He was a supercool coach,” reflected one of his Banneker City players. Ceph was supercool and super fast. He earned the nickname “Bullet Train” because of his speed and production on the bases (baseball tracks).Ceph “Bullet Train” Christie, gone, but not forgotten.
Maury “Sonny” Wills (October 2, 1932 – September 19, 2022)
Maury “Sonny” Wills was a proud son of DC and considered by many to be the best baseball player to emerge from the District. He spent his entire MLB career with the Dodgers, including winning the NL MVP in 1962, after stealing a then-record 104 bases.
In 2022, Banneker City began hosting the Maury Wills Tournament & Fish-Fry annually over the Columbus Day weekend. High schoolers, many former Banneker City players, and their families enjoy free food, reunions, and high school baseball. Maury “Sonny” Wills, gone, but not forgotten.
Banneker City will continue to trailblaze the path of delivering quality, affordable baseball programming to the kids of Washington, DC (Banneker City). Join in on the fun and help us take Banneker City (Washington, DC) to new heights.
The future looks bright…
Banneker City Baseball is a non-profit organization. Your donations are tax deductible.
If you are interested in learning more about the Banneker Upper Field Project, please attend our Annual Meeting, where we will discuss:
Banneker Rec Center
2500 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
7:45pm - 8:45pm