Imani Brown, 13, of Auburn, was inaugurated into the Mariners’ Hometown Nine class of 2026 on Aug. 27.
The Hometown Nine is run by Mariners Care, the philanthropic wing of the Mariners baseball team, according to the team’s website.
Hometown Nine is a five year fellowship for 8th-graders focused on helping BIPOC kids be successful academically and athletically. Hometown Nine accomplishes this by addressing barriers that student athletes of color often face.
“The Mariners provide academic, professional and social support to encourage success in the Fellows’ athletic careers and educational journeys,” according to a Mariners press release.
Brown is an incoming 8th-grader at Rainier Middle School in Auburn. He has a 3.9 GPA and plays shortstop for the JBA Cubs. Brown lives in Auburn with his younger brother, parents and puppy, according to the Mariners.
Brown plans to play baseball for a Division 1 college after graduating from high school in 2026. Brown said he hopes Hometown Nine will get him closer to that goal.
“I want a chance to train to my fullest potential playing the sport I love,” Brown said. “My goals are to continue doing well in school and eventually go to college.”
Brown will be paired with a mentor from the Mariners Front Office and will regularly interact with Mariners players. In addition to this, Mariners Care will pay for elite baseball training for Brown. This training is not accessible for a lot of families, according to the team.
Beyond playing baseball and doing well in school, Brown is passionate about social justice and wants to use his platform to fight racism and other forms of discrimination.
“I want to help change racism. I come from a bi-racial family myself, and I have heard several stories of both my parents and other family members experiencing racism,” Brown said. “I want to help change this to make sure that my brother, myself, and the generations to come will not have to experience this. I think everyone should be treated equally no matter what the color of their skin is, and no matter how much money someone has.”
Brown hopes to have a positive impact on the world as an athlete. Beyond issues of social justice, Brown is also passionate about addressing global issues such as climate change and war to make the world a better place for future generations.