By Jason Schwartz
After ending his professional baseball career in the Atlanta Braves minor-league system, Eddie
Odom returned to his hometown with a vision to start his own major league team.
He invited his wife, Yvonne, to an informational meeting to just – take notes. It was then, in
1971, that the Odoms organized the Delray Beach American Little League, which has become a
savior for many area children.
‘‘Yvonne and Red were the glue that held this community together,” said the Rev. Matthew
“Bump” Mitchell, a retired Delray Beach Police Department detective sergeant who has known
the Odoms for more than 45 years. ‘‘That’s what makes her them special. I like to think of her as
the person who provides a peephole out of the darkness we faced here.
‘‘She’s been such a positive influence. She can talk with the boys and girls when no one else can.
Without her, most of these kids wouldn’t even know what motherhood was all about. Because
she’s been a mother to them all, on the field, in the classroom, everywhere.’’
The couple was recognized recently – 43 years later – at the Xi Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha
Kappa Alpha, Sorority’s 30th anniversary luncheon.
To date, the league has served more than 50,000 children and operates with 50 adult volunteers,
said Jennifer B. Tims, a past president of the local chapter.
“Along by his side, Yvonne served as league president, secretary and is currently the vice
president,” Tims said. “In addition, Eddie had a passion for football and was the first African–
American coach with the Delray Rocks youth football league.”
Throughout South Florida, the Rocks and Coach Red became the team to beat, she said.
However, after 25 years of commitment to both sports, Odom decided to concentrate on little
league baseball which continues today with a senior citizen League, a men’s baseball team and
Other honorees were: Delray Beach City commissioner Angeleta Gray, a local businesswoman
who has served on several community and governmental boards; Dr. Virgil Norris, the first black
surgeon in Palm Beach County and the first black to serve on the staff at Bethesda Memorial
Hospital; Rev. Lance Chaney who established the R.M. Lee Educational Complex at St. John
Missionary Baptist Church in Boynton Beach; and Guarn Sims, principal of Village Academy,
one of two public schools in the state that educates students from kindergarten to 12th grade.