Base­ball is far from India’s most pop­ular sport, but that hasn’t stopped Jackson Golden from working to bring America’s pas­time to the nation’s makeshift diamonds.

Last spring, Golden, SSH’15, cofounded Grand Slam Base­ball, a non­profit umbrella orga­ni­za­tion aimed at increasing par­tic­i­pa­tion and pro­moting upward mobility among players at all levels.

The fourth-​​year anthro­pology major spent eight months in India on a self-​​made co-​​op, con­vincing coaches, players, and league offi­cials to join his effort to stream­line the sport. To date, nine base­ball leagues, acad­e­mies, and tour­na­ments have joined Jackson’s cause—and even more are waiting in the wings.

We’re trying to legit­imize the infra­struc­ture for youth, col­lege, and ama­teur base­ball to create a clear path to suc­cess for tal­ented ath­letes,” says Golden, an Amer­ican who grew up in New Delhi, where he devel­oped into a catcher and second baseman. “My goal is to give Indian base­ball a cohe­sive voice.”

At least one big player in the base­ball industry has been lis­tening to Grand Slam’s clarion call: According to Jackson, Nike plans to donate hun­dreds of bats, gloves, and hel­mets to India’s fledg­ling ballplayers.

Other part­ner­ships have more to do with pro­moting social mobility than hit­ting home runs with new equip­ment. In the last few months, GSB has con­nected with Korean, Japanese, and Amer­ican com­pa­nies based in India to build a league in which low-​​income Indian ballplayers would hit, pitch, and field along­side cor­po­rate players.

Indians will learn cor­po­rate cul­ture, net­work with players at the com­pany, and build new oppor­tu­ni­ties through base­ball,” Jackson explains. “They’ll be thrown into a melting pot of many dif­ferent nations and cul­tures, but they’ll all be able to unite through the game.”

The young human­i­tarian is not the only one who believes in baseball’s power to gen­erate social mobility. Alan Klein, a pro­fessor of soci­ology and anthro­pology who oversaw Jackson’s cre­ation of GSB, says base­ball “does have the pos­si­bility of giving low-​​income Indians an oppor­tu­nity to build upward mobility.”

In Klein’s view, Jackson com­prises the per­fect atti­tude and aca­d­emic makeup to grow base­ball in a nation known for that other bat and ball game—cricket. “He’s very inter­dis­ci­pli­nary in his thoughts, and he’s a great self-​​starter,” Klein says. “He’s going to take the ball and run with it.”

As a case in point, Jackson recently received an Under­grad­uate Research Ini­tia­tive grant from the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties to delve deeper into the inner work­ings of GSB and other orga­ni­za­tions aimed at building base­ball pro­grams for low-​​income ath­letes in India. “I want to use base­ball to con­nect people,” he says.