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Monday, October 23, 2017

Still In Rain Delay

by Jeff Weisinger (writer), New York, NY, April 16, 2008

Credit:

MLB still not as diverse as Jackie would've wanted it

His ten year career, .311 career batting average and 137 home runs don't truly mark how special a career Jackie Robinson had, let alone the impact he had on the game of baseball.

The man who broke baseball's color barrier a year ago yesterday was celebrated by Major League Baseball yesterday with seven whole teams wearing Jackie's 42 and several players including Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr., Gary Sheffield and Grady Sizemore wearing number 42.

However, with Jackie Robinson's accomplishment fresh in our minds, it is not as fresh on the field as Jackie would've liked.

The number of African-Americans in baseball were on the rise when Jackie passed away in 1972, yet 36 years after his death, the number of African-Americans in baseball, both on-and-off the field have declined, while the number of Latinos and Asians have risen.

Not that Jackie would've minded considering how inclusive he was.

Yet, the issue of the "Lack of Black" in the MLB is one that not even Jackie could change today. MLB has a bad image to the African-American community thanks to the L.A. Dodgers Vice President Al Campanis' Nightline interview when he stated that "blacks might not have 'the necessities' to do more than play the game."

Then there's also the Barry Bonds' chapter where the media paid more attention to Bonds' steroid case rather than focsuing more on the young stars like C.C. Sabathia of the Cleveland Indians and B.J. and Justin Upton.

There's the typical answer that baseabll is just not as popular, or easy to play, compared to football or basketball, in the inner-cities compared to the suburbs or small towns.

Most NCAA Division I schools do not give out as many scholarships for baseball compared to that of basketball or football.

In short, MLB is currently on pace to revert back to the time where there were no black players in the game. However, as inclusive as Jackie was, he would be glad to see that there are players of color (29 percent is Latino) in baseball.

Baseball is not perfect, and neither is life. Yet, thanks to Jackie's dream it is more inspired today.



About the Writer

Jeff Weisinger is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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