Sophomore throws first pitch at Miami Marlins game

Sophomore and Jackie Robinson Scholar Miles Pendleton threw out the first pitch at the Miami Marlins game on April 15, celebrated across the league as Jackie Robinson Day. Photo courtesy Miami Marlins

By Ashley A. Williams

Sophomore and Jackie Robinson Scholar Miles Pendleton threw out the first pitch at the Miami Marlins game on April 15, celebrated across the league as Jackie Robinson Day. Photo courtesy Miami Marlins

Sophomore throws first pitch at Miami Marlins game

By Ashley A. Williams
Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar Miles Pendleton excels on and off campus.

When Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day in ballparks around the nation last month, second-year University of Miami student Miles Pendleton stepped up to the plate at Marlins Park and threw out the first pitch—the first time he had ever thrown a baseball.

“I was a little nervous at first but once I got out there, it was an amazing experience,” Pendleton said with a smile on his face. “They really welcomed me into their organization and stadium.”

Pendleton was invited to the April 15 celebration, which included donning the same jersey bearing Robinson’s long-retired No. 42 just like players across the league did, because he has an enduring tie to the baseball hall of famer who broke baseball’s color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947.

Pendleton, who grew up in Eugene, Oregon, learned during his senior year of high school that he had been chosen as a Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) scholar, a highly selective four-year program that provides tuition support and extensive, hands-on mentoring, and other support services.

Since then, he has tried to dedicate his life to Robinson’s nine values: courage, determination, commitment, persistence, integrity, justice, teamwork, citizenship, and excellence.

When Pendleton arrived in Miami, he received an invitation to become a Ronald A. Hammond scholar and a Foote Fellows Honor Program member. These opportunities coupled with a lush campus scenery made his decision to attend UM an easy one.

“Jackie Robinson’s nine values really stand out to me,” said Pendleton, who quadruple majors in criminology, sociology, political science, and Africana studies. “Things such as courage, commitment, excellence are a breakdown of all the things that he took with him through life. Whatever action you might feel is right to do in life, they fall somewhere within those nine values.”

Miles Pendleton
Pendleton accepting a scholarship donation from the Miami Marlins Foundation. Photo courtesy Miami Marlins

On the heels of wrapping up his second year, Pendleton has accomplished many things. He most recently helped co-found the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) UM Chapter. Pendleton and his fellow members plan to host various outreach initiatives, fundraisers, and collaboration efforts this upcoming fall.

Once a month Pendleton meets with a student at Booker T. Washington High School who he mentors through Inspire U—a program aimed at bringing together mostly first-generation high school students and Hammond scholars. In his free time, Pendleton enjoys playing basketball at the Herbert Wellness Center.

To Pendleton, being a JRF scholar means continuing to build on Robinson’s legacy at UM and in the community. He is a member of the United Black Students club, and sat on a committee in the College of Arts and Sciences charged with figuring out how the University can extend its reach beyond Coral Gables.

Robinson’s actions stretched far beyond baseball. The JRF program promotes the character traits he embodied and Pendleton says “his achievements were more valuable than anything he ever received out of it.” He is constantly encouraged to positively impact the lives of others.

During Jackie Robinson Day at Marlins Park, which was the series opener against the Chicago Cubs, he participated in a pre-game panel discussion with Marlins CEO and part-owner Derek Jeter for 42 members of the Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade and 42 members of 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project. Michael Hill, the Marlins’ president of baseball operations, and former Marlins catcher Charles Johnson also sat on the panel.

This summer, Pendleton plans to attend a prelaw program in Boston for two weeks and shadow a prosecutor or state senator.