On Jackie Robinson Day: We Are Still Searching For The New Group Of African-American Stars In Baseball
Walking into your job. A place you dreamed of working for, and worked hard to get. Some colleagues want to kill you, won’t even look at you. Before you walk in, people are yelling expletives at you, so bad in fact that you feel that the only way to survive is by attacking back…but you can’t.
A place where you are the first. Your family gets threatened every second, and you may not have place to sleep due to the fact that no one wants you.
This was the life of Jack Rosevelt Robinson, a man who was also known as Jackie.
Today, every player in Major League Baseball will wear the number 42 in celebration of the contributions he brought to not on the game of baseball, but America.
Through sports, he helped usher in a new era in this country by deciding to the chance and prove his talent is just as good or better than anybody who played in the major leagues.
In nice seasons in Major League Baseball, Robinson had a .311 batting average, 137 homeruns, 734 rbi’s, and 197 stolen bases.
This all included being a six-time All-Star, 1947 rookie of the year, 1949 MVP award, and a two time stolen base champion.
He also lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the 1955 World Series against the New York Yankees in a battle between two rivals.
Look ahead 20 years later and his contributions to the game are still being seen today. Yet something is still lacking in baseball.
As we look to a more diverse game we have seen Hispanics dominate the game. Meanwhile the amount of African Americans playing the sport have diminished greatly.
In a study in 2011, ESPN found out that “27 percent of major league players and more than 42 percent (conservatively) of minor league players are Hispanic.”
This is compared to “only 8.5 percent of the players on Major League Baseball’s opening day rosters being African American” according to the New York Times. “In 1986, black representation stood at 19 percent, according to research by the Society of American Baseball Research.”
This is added on with the lack of black baseball players on the field in historically black colleges.
Counting historically black colleges, a recent study by the United States Sports Academy found that 4.5 percent of college baseball players are black, In 2006, there were just 24 black players in the SEC, a conference that includes eight states with a black population of more than 25 percent.
We once had greats such as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson and Ozzie Smith dominate the game.
That turned into a 1990’s generation that included Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey JR., Derek Jeter, and Tim Raines.
Now we have a young generation in which kids should be able to look upon in Andrew McCutchen, CC Sabathia, Prince Fielder, Adam Jones, and Matt Kemp to look forward to.
The reason could be because it’s not as cool as basketball, or action packed as football. Yet, in all the sports although it may be the hardest, it gives gives the best pay in guaranteed contracts.
With baseball programs in inner cities, and the new generation of African American stars in Major League Baseball hopefully one day we can see more balance in the future of its sport.
Happy Jackie Robinson Day!