It's the first thing you see when you visit 5 Star National's website, and the note from program President Andy Burress explains the history of the program better than anything that could be written here.
It reads, in part:
“Mr. Buddy Meyers, created the first “Chain Baseball” team in 1985 after his company Chain Reps LLC. I played for Chain Baseball in 1993 and started coaching a Chain team in 2007. The Chain name has been a stepping stone over the past few years to help our organization get to where we are today.
“Mr. Buddy never envisioned what our organization has become. From San Diego, CA to Winston-Salem, NC from Forest Park, GA to Bradenton, FL, the growth of our organization and the impact that a couple of old south Georgia boys have created is unbelievable. With growth, always comes growing pains, Mr. Buddy's Chain Baseball infrastructure was flawed and never designed to grow to this magnitude.
“I feel certain that Mr. Buddy would be proud of our accomplishments since his passing in 2014. We recorded back to back 15U and 16U PG National Championships. Our freshman group was ranked #2 in the country and our sophomore group was ranked #3 in the country. This past year alone we have had 32 D1 commits. These were all were firsts in the history of ‘Chain.'”
Burress played for seven seasons (1995-2001) in the Cincinnati Reds system, and started his own indoor baseball facility shortly thereafter. With that came the creation of some travel teams.
“The Five Star program was a huge program out of Jacksonville that had been very successful, so we took on the name and kept the same colors,” Burress explained. “The people are the same. It's crazy, you never really think about a baseball company becoming a multi-million dollar business. We cleaned that (name situation) up, and we have 14 different facilities are either partner facilities or facilities that we own directly all the way from Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Bradenton, Florida. We felt like if we were going to be a national program, an important part of what we were doing is instruction and being able to provide kids a place to go and work out. If we had a big group of people, I'd go find a facility and either partner with them or buy them out so that we would have a place for our guys to go work out. It's been good. We've opened up new ones, we've partnered with different facilities. We've grown into what we are today, and it's been really good.”
It was several years ago that Five Star National truly expanded into the national program that it is today, with, as Burress mentioned in the original note, teams ranked second and third in the country. The program has consistently been a hotbed for top talent — World Series champion Terrance Gore is among the graduates — and that isn't changing any time soon with what's coming down the pike.
“We have two (possible) first rounders this year, D.L. Hall and Cole Brannen, and we had a first-rounder last year,” Burress said. “In the 2019 class, we probably have who I feel like would be one of the best players to ever play the game come through in Rece Hinds. I think those guys will be huge prospects moving forward, I think they'll make national headlines.”
In the end, it's about making those players better while Burress has them, and going about it in the right way. With that said, joining forces with Program 15, the New Balance Future Stars Series and CEO Jeremy Booth made for a fit that just felt right.
“Jeremy, with his background and being on the pro side of things, he has a tremendous feel for the high level programs and high level baseball,” Burress said. “We do a lot of work with a lot of different programs just for the simple fact that they're ones that we believe in. Jeremy's background and what he's doing, it's definitely on the side of what the upper end athlete (wants). That's been key, trying to find something for the top players in the country to go and do.”
Burress is the Program 15 director for the Georgia and Tennessee regions.
“Andy and I were introduced through a longtime mutual friend, Andy Cannizaro (head baseball coach at Mississippi State) and we also shared teammates with Randi Mallard,” Booth said. “His background, experiences, integrity, vision, and attention to detail with his process made this easy for me. The more homework I did on his group, the more impressed I was. I'm excited to have him and 5 Star lead Georgia and Tennessee for us as we step into the future together. I'm also really looking forward to seeing the talent he and his group have put together for this summer as we look to build the national team for international Weekend.”
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