UIC honors Curtis Granderson

The University of Illinois at Chicago will name its new baseball stadium after
Yankees center fielder and UIC alum Curtis Granderson, who provided what is expected to be the largest-ever contribution to the school's athletic department.

Curtis Granderson Stadium will serve UIC's baseball team and Chicago's area youth, the school announced.

"There are a lot of people in the community that are in the same situation I was in 15 to 20 years ago," Granderson said in a statement. "Now, I am in a position where I have the ability to help kids pursue whatever dreams they have, whether they are educational, athletic or just life in general. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to team up with UIC, which has helped me get to where I am today."

Granderson announced his intentions for the stadium at a dinner hosted by UIC to retire his No. 28 jersey on Wednesday.

"We are grateful to Curtis for his generosity, which will impact UIC baseball and our student-athletes for generations," UIC athletic director Jim Schmidt said in a statement. "Curtis is once again demonstrating his strong core values in assisting the youth of Chicago. He is a special person and a great representative for UIC."

Curtis Granderson Stadium will have partnerships with the Chicago Public Schools and Major League Baseball's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and Urban Youth Academy (UYA). The stadium will host youth league games and clinics throughout the spring and summer.

"I started playing baseball when I was six years old and friendships I had at that point I still have today," Granderson said "You learn teamwork, leadership, discipline and also how to fail and succeed -- things you don't realize at the time how beneficial they are going to be moving forward. You're going to have to set goals and work hard to accomplish them. That's what baseball has done for me, and hopefully that's what baseball will do for the youth in Chicago."

Stadium construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013 and is expected to take two years to build. It will include 1,200 seats and two grass areas for another seating.