UIC baseball legend Curtis Granderson inducted into Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame

Curtis Granderson one of the most decorated student-athletes in UIC’s history.

Former UIC All-America outfielder and three-time Major League Baseball All-Star Curtis Granderson was officially inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame during the annual MVC Board of Directors Hall of Fame Breakfast on March 8 at the historic Stiefel Theatre in St. Louis.

Granderson is the first UIC inductee into the Hall, and this year’s ceremony was held in conjunction with the 2024 State Farm MVC Men’s Basketball Championship.

The MVC Hall of Fame recognizes trailblazers in several categories, including “Institutional Greats”, which honors players, coaches or administrators who have worked or participated at a conference school when that institution was not a Valley member. Prior MVC Hall of Fame inductees from the “Institutional Greats” category have included former NBA player Walt Frazier (Southern Illinois, 1965-67) and former MLB pitchers Bob Gibson (Creighton, 1954-57) and Andy Benes (Evansville, 1986-88).

“Being inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame means a lot,” Granderson said. “The Valley was one of the conferences I aspired to and looked up to as a student-athlete at UIC. You would always try to measure yourself against the best, and the Missouri Valley was one of the best. Being a part of it now with some of the greats that have ever put on uniforms in their respective sports, it truly means a lot.”

Granderson remains one of the most decorated student-athletes in UIC’s history, roaming the outfield for the Flames from 2000-02. As a junior in 2002, he was named the Horizon League Player of the Year after setting single-season program records for batting average (.483 — also second in the nation), hits (100) and runs (76), all marks that stand to this day. He was subsequently chosen as a 2002 second-team All-American by Baseball America and USA Today’s Baseball Weekly, as well as a third-team All-American by Louisville Slugger.

He graduated from UIC with his degree in business administration and business marketing and was inducted into the UIC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2021. The Flames officially retired his No. 28 during the 2013 season.

Granderson also donated $5 million to UIC to fund construction of Curtis Granderson Stadium. Now in its 10th season, Granderson Stadium is not only the home of the Flames baseball program, but it serves as a place to learn and play the game to countless youth teams and organizations around Chicago. Thousands of youths throughout the Chicagoland community utilize the state-of-the-art facility via the Chicago Baseball & Educational Academy.

After his remarkable career at UIC, Granderson was selected in the third round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, making his way up to the parent club in 2004. That began a 16-year Major League career for seven teams that spanned more than 2,000 games and 60 postseason contests. He also played for three teams that reached the World Series — the Tigers (2006), New York Mets (2015) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2017) — and he was a three-time All-Star selection with the Tigers (2009) and New York Yankees (2011 and 2012).

Granderson earned Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award in 2016, an honor bestowed to the player who best represents the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions, both on and off the field.  He also earned the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 2015 as the MLB player who best exemplifies the spirit and character of Lou Gehrig.

A four-time recipient of the MLB Players’ Association’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, Granderson created the nonprofit Grand Kids Foundation as an active player in 2007 to promote youth development through education, physical fitness and nutrition, and he served as MLB spokesperson for the White House’s “Let’s Move” campaign and the “Drink Up” water initiative.

Granderson serves as President of The Players Alliance, a group that addresses baseball’s systemic barriers to equity and inclusion by creating pathways to opportunities on and off the field for an undeniable pipeline of Black talent.

For more information on UIC Athletics and UIC baseball, visit UICFlames.com. Fans can also follow the Flames on social media through X (@UIC_Baseball and @UICFlames) and Instagram (@uic_baseball and @uicflames).

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