What a ride the last 20 years has been for Tommy Hernandez and the Dallas Tigers. Brian Chin at Youth1, the online authority in youth sports, wrote a great article highlighting some of the milestones in Tiger history. Here is a full read of the article:
(Youth1 Baseball) – It all began on a January day in 1993, when a group of 11-12 talented kids looked for nothing more than to play the game they love; baseball. A stout-hearted Tommy Hernandez joined a group of dedicated parents which included Stuart Hollimon, Mike Rainier, Tom McElroy, and Bill Gray. After the firm decision to help the young group, Tommy Hernandez took on the prominent role as head coach of the new born 11U Dallas Tigers baseball squad.
The first four years of the organization would become the building process for the young talent, as his 11U team would develop through the rankings and grow each season. They earned their first victory in March of 1993, marking what would be the beginning of a successful franchise.
It would not be until 1997 however, when the Dallas Tigers achieved their first major achievement of their early existence. Tommy Hernandez organized and started up a second Tigers Team for the 10-year-olds, which was a team he led to win their first major title in the 10U AABC Roberto Clemente National Championship in Collierville, Tennessee. The Dallas Tigers would go on to win four more National championships.
1998 also marked a great year, as Hernandez started a third baseball team, this one comprised of 9- year-olds, who won the 9U AABC National Championship and the 9U USSSA National Championship in Joplin, Missouri.
His original Dallas Tigers team also competed in the Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) National Championship in Arlington, Texas and was crowned the 16U champions. The squad also won the USA Jr. Olympic National Championship and players Michael Hollimon and Chris Minissale made the USA Team Selections. The organization then qualified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 98’.
The Dallas Tigers followed up a successful 1998 season by winning the 10U NBC National Championship in 1999. The 12U team took the title in the 12U AABC Pee Wee Reese National Championship in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, followed by the 11U Triple Crown National Championship in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The players that made it to the ‘99 USA Team included Zach Segovia, Curtis Thigpen, Christopher Walsh, Billy Hogan and Michael Wilson. Segovia, Thigpen and Michael Hollimon made the 2000 USA squad.
The Dallas Tigers secured another title in 2001, when the 14U squad won the AABC Willie Mays National Championship. Zach Segovia returned for the third time to the USA team, along with teammate Mark McCormick.
In 2002, the winning continued, as the organization won the 15U CABA National Championship in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The USA selections included current Detroit Tiger Austin Jackson, as well as Evan Gattis and Tyler Bullock.
There is no greater honor to represent your country, Hernandez said about the team’s participation on the USA Team.
Later on that year, the Dallas Tigers suffered a major loss as co-founder Bill Gray died in a tragic plane crash with his family, including his 20-year-old son Chase. Bill Gray had partnered with Tommy Hernandez to establish the organization.
The Tigers rebounded from the tragic events, as the club’s 18U squad won the Super Series National Championship in Phoenix, Arizona in 2003. The 12U squad finished in 3rd place in the AABC Pee Wee Reese National Championship and Seth Garrison was selected for Team USA.
The Tigers moved into 2005 with momentum as the 15U Tigers became champions at the AABC National tournament in Owasso, Oklahoma. Shawn Tollison was selected for the USA Team. Coach Hernandez had the honors of taking his 11U and 13U Dallas clubs to compete in the Global Sports International Tournament in Beijing, China.
The 14U also became Super Series National Champions in their home town of Dallas. The 10U Tigers captured 3rd place after competition in the AABC Roberto Clemente National Championship as well as the 16UAABC National Championship.
The organization had players like Shawn Tollison, Blake Beaven, Cole Green, and current Dodgers pitcher’ Clayton Kershaw make the USA Team select.
More USA Team nominations came in 2006 when Roger Kierschnick, Preston Clark, Jacob Morris and Jonathan Walsh were elected. Zack Segovia made his fourth appearance on the select squad. In 2007, Petey Paramore, Jordan Swagerty, Zach Lee, Roger Kieschnick, Michael Hollimon, and Colton Cain made the USA Team Select.
In 2008, the 14U Dallas Tigers won the AAYBA National Championship in Flower Mound, Texas. Colton Cain and Matt Lipka made the USA Team. The squad also had honors of winning the Inaugural Perfect Game PG Pro Award for Team with the best Exemplified Professionalism, Class and Sportsmanship.
Brian Ragira was elected for the USA Team the following year and the organization was noted as one of the top five college development programs in the U.S. by Rounding Third. Dallas made quite an impression in 2010, when the 14U squad won the Super Series National Championship. That same year, Hernandez was named as the USA Baseball North Texas Regional Director. The USA Team selections included Brian Ragira for the second consecutive year.
In 2011, the 15U Tigers claimed a championship in the 15U AABC Ken Griffey Jr. World Series in Owasso, Oklahoma and Coach Hernandez was honored as the USA NTIS Regional Director.
2012 brought even more outstanding achievements, as the 16U pack became AABC Mickey Mantle World Series Champions. Hernandez was once again honored as the USA NTIS Regional Director and named USA Tournament of Stars Assistant.
Now in 2013, Hernandez is currently the chairman of the board of the Dallas Tigers. His organization has expanded to 17 teams including 9U-18U squads. Through heart and dedication, his 20 years of leadership has built the Dallas Tigers organization from the ground up.
Thank you again to Youth1 for producing this article!