There is a very good documentary about Reggie Jackson on Netflix. I watched this show last night and the openness and honesty I saw from Jackson made me see the guy in a much different light than I had before.
When he was playing, I considered him a showoff although he was a great power hitter. I thought he was too angry and controversial. But until you see the reasons for that kind of behavior, you really do not understand the person.
It may seem like a long time ago, but up into the 70’s, the south was still segregated. Being a black ballplayer in the south was not easy. Jackson could not eat in the same restaurant as his teammates or sleep in the same hotel, and this even after he was in the majors.
And you would have to say he was working for maybe the cheapest, well at least most frugal owner in the game at the time, Charlie Finley.
Finley did not pay any of his stars, not the whites or the blacks. His three straight World Championship teams were loaded with great players. And all of them were underpaid.
Jackson led the league in homers one year and got cut 2,500 hundred dollars! But when free agency came along, everything for Finley changed. And I had forgotten that they had a free agent draft that year.
The first team to draft Jackson was the Expos. He had offers from several teams. But the Yankees and their owner, George Steinbrenner, were trying to regain the franchise’s former glory. Reggie ended up signing for 5 years and 3 million dollars.
Well, times have changed. In the documentary, Jackson discusses black athletes in sports with Hank Aaron and Dr. J. Julius Irving. They discuss how some blacks were more vocal than others and that inspired others.
Jackie Robinson let his play do his talking. But when he spoke after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of game 2 of the 72 World Series, he said he would only be satisfied when he looked at the third base coaching line and saw a black face managing a team. He died nine days later.
But there were plenty of other black athletes who spoke their minds freely. Jim Brown, the NFL Hall of Famer was one. Bill Russell, the Celtic great was another. And in time, so was Jackson.
Reggie and Billy Martin though did not get along in New York. That would never really change, but Martin was happy he had him when the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the 77 series.
But the question remains, why do young black athletes choose to play sports other than baseball? I think one of the reasons has to be that it is a shorter path to the professional ranks in football or basketball.
Some basketball players have joined the NBA right out of high school, or right after their second year of college ball.
Football players can opt for the draft after 3 years in school if I remember right. I would think the average minor league stay in baseball is longer. You find our much faster in the other two sports if you are good enough to be a pro.
I think there are other reasons such as the cost of equipment. You can practice basketball all by yourself as long as you have a hoop and a ball.
Cost aside, kids just want the instant gratification and do not want to have to toil in the farm systems for years. The Dodgers used to have more black players than any other team.
You look now, and the only ones on the major league roster are Betts, Heyward and Jackson. And there are not a bunch on the minor league teams.
Reggie, who was such a part of the Yankees for so many years, now is an advisor to the owner of the Astros. He and some other prominent blacks are working with MLB teams to restore interest in the game in the inner cities. LA already has a program like that based in Compton.
There have been some advances, that is true. Bill White worked in the commissioner’s office for years. But currently there are no blacks on the executive level of MLB.
There have been a lot of coaches, and some advanced to be managers. MLB right now features Dusty Baker, and Dave Roberts as the only two who are black. There are a couple who are Latino’s. But MLB still has more white managers than managers of color.
Frank Robinson was the first. Some have managed a long time, Baker, Don Baylor, Ron Washington, Robinson. But some, like Larry Doby, managed only one season or less.
For whatever reason though, the number of black players continues to dwindle. So far, it shows no sign of changing anytime soon.
Just back from the OKC Dodgers vs Sacramento River Cats AAA. OKC scored a run in the 9th to break a 4-4 tie. Jahmai Jones hit a one-out double. Drew Avans plopped a single into LF and Jones took 3rd. Michael Busch hit a deep fly into CF to score Jones on a sac fly. Nick Robertson struck out the side in the bottom of the 9th for the save.
The offensive star of the night was Jonny DeLuca. He homered twice, doubled, and singled. Although on this night, he was not very good defensively. He misplayed two balls into a double and a triple. I don’t know if he could not see the ball off the bat.
Mark Washington, Gus Varland, and Tayler Scott also looked good. Even though Garland gave up a run, one of the plays that DeLuca misplayed was a triple. Varland got two outs, but with Matt Beaty at the plate, Gus uncorked a WP to score the tying run. He struck out Beaty to end the inning.
William Cuevas, OKC starting pitcher, walked the first two batters and then retired the next 10 batters before he walked another. He gave up a double to Jacob Nottingham that scored the run on a very close play at the plate.
Here are DeLuca’s HRs.
OKC had 10 hits, 4 doubles and 2 HRs. Besides Jahmai Jones and Jonny DeLuca, Devin Mann and Justin Yurchak hit back to back doubles to score a run.
DeLuca completed his 10th game. 46 PA, 43 AB, .326/.370/.651/1.021, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 HRs, 7 runs, 12 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 K, 2 SB. A great start to AAA. His .344 BABIP is probably not sustainable.
They went to the Dominican Bear.
“I think for now we just have to keep running him out there and expect better results”.
Roberts on Syndergaard.
Ok, that sounds like a good plan.
.198, .233, .241, .208, 214, .197
From the box score. The bottom of the lineup
3 for 14 WRISP. Not that it mattered in this game.
But it’s ok. We still score a lot of runs most of the time so we can just run ‘em out there and expect better results.
We’ll find a way.
Maybe he should have said them insead of him.
Blame it on the black star
Blame it on the falling sky
Blame it on the satellite that leads me home
Reggie was actually traded by Oakland to Baltimore. After spending a year in Baltimore, he elected free agency, and thats when the the Yankees signed him.
Why don’t African-Americans choose baseball? Well Basketball wasn’t very popular back in the day, but sure is now and a pays a lot of money. Football has become the most popular sport in America. and as you stated in your article, it takes much longer to become a money-making professional in baseball.
If you have great, athletic ability,it transfers to basketball and football much easier. Baseball not only takes athletic ability, but a set skill that takes a long time to develop
I agree Bear, it’s not gonna change anytime soon as far as blacks from the US playing baseball
I’ve heard some radicals out there say that the reason there aren’t more blacks playing baseball is the lack of black coaches and managers. The Al Sharpton’s of the world will always try to stir up trouble. That’s how they make a living.
You lost my attention at “radicals”.
Al doesn’t need to “stir up trouble”. There’s plenty of trouble already stirring to which he can respond.
I don’t know about black coaches numbers but I do know there are more basketball courts in the inner cities than there are baseball fields.
You’re right it should’ve been militant
Apologies to Jeff and the posters. This is a baseball forum. From now on, I’ll keep my comments to that
I know that, but the main reason he was traded was because Finley pretty much knew he was going to lose him to free agency, plus he did not want to pay him.
I figured you knew I was just pointing it out to others who may have not remembered
Singing the Blue, you asked me about Muncy after he hit a couple of homeruns. I haven’t heard much from you about Muncy for a while.
Muncy is back below .200. He is the measure of inconsistency. Hopefully he’s hot in October.
Just noticed SF is 8-2 and now above .500.
I’ve said a few times now that the Giants are a lot better than what they have shown so far
Yeah. You did. And I didn’t believe you. I should know better.
That said, I hope you’re wrong. It’s so much easier to read the standings when they are near the bottom.
I vehemently disagree with your statement (mostly because I really enjoy disagreeing with you).
The Giants are much worse than what they are showing. They are the absolute definition of a mediocre team and talent-wise are the fourth best team in the division.
Badger is far too easily convinced by short streaks of decent baseball. He should be ashamed of himself.
SD is the team we need to fear and they will give us a real fight for the division. You heard it first here. Well, maybe not first, but I’m saying it. Preller will trade his last decent trade chip, shortstop prospect Jackson Merrill, for a good starter in July, and they will be a force to be reckoned with (or a force with which to be reckoned if there are any English majors reading this).
They are winning and doing it without their best hitter and he will soon be back.
They have changed with a bunch of new young players who are playing their asses off right now. NL ERA leader is Alex Cobb, who is finally healthy. They are better than you are giving them credit for. As for SD, they still have a lot of attitude problems. Too many very LARGE ego’s on that team.
I agree about SD
I am ashamed of myself. But, not for that.
I told you that was the day to trade him, Fred. You delayed, and now his trade value has plummeted again. You need to act quickly once I give you the go-ahead.
I floated him around the leagues and got one offer. It wasn’t good enough considering I was offering a first place team’s cleanup hitter. Max just hit a homerun as I was typing here. It’s a good place to stop typing.
This is a sore spot for the league too. They’ve thrown money at the problem, but there are so many factors.
For the sake of argument here – why is that a problem? MLB is as diverse as it’s ever been. Maybe it’s as simple as African Americans are choosing to do other things. The NBA is 17% white. Should whites be concerned about that?
Why is what a problem?
not getting the best athletes for a major sport?
is this a serious question?
They are getting the best baseball players.
Is it a problem that basketball is getting the best athletes?
I am not sure I understand what you are saying or what point you are making.
But that’s all cool.
This is a reasonably complex subject and May not be best discussed on message boards.
Remember “for the sake of argument”?
Kershaw get’s through 5 but once again the long ball bites him in the ass.
4 earned in 5. Not good.
He was unhittable when he was strumming the strings like a banjo but as soon as he pitched inside the strings, he got hit.
Not to not pick Bear but I think Kenny Williams of the White Sox and Dana Brown of the Astros would be surprised they are not black mlb executives.
in regards to fewer blacks in the majors, I think a part of it is the year round travel teams. In the past the best athletes were 2, 3 or 4 sports letterman. Now days with travel teams the best athletes play the same sort all year long. I remember Vin almost always talking about a player was a multi sport star in high school. Now Joe mentions it every so often. A lot of high school coaches don’t want their players playing other sports due to injury concerns. They also want the kids that play year round.
They work for teams, not MLB. The number of blacks who have worked in the executive offices of the major leagues is minute. Bob Watson and Bill White are the two most prominent. Williams and Brown were hired by the respective organizations, not MLB.
My bad I thought front offices. Tony Reagins is the Chief Baseball operations officer. But the fact still remains too few black players and executives.
This team strikes out way too much. Nuff said. Stop swinging for a HR on every pitch and every count. Put the freaking ball in play.
But they were 9 for 36 with 4 doubles and 2 home runs. They scored 6 and won.
This IS your Los Angeles Dodgers.
Maybe Muncy will string together a few games that win games for the Dodgers but he so far only pokes his head out of the clouds about once a week to say hello. In between hellos he doesn’t make a contribution to a win. That for me spells 7th, 8th, or 9th in the batting order.
Betts, Freeman, Smith, Martinez, Heyward, Vargas, Outman, Taylor, Muncy with hopes Muncy will again work some walks and be on base for Betts.
Today’s game will tell us more about the Dodgers.
When Muncy is on he’s fun to watch. When he’s off, change the channel.
Speaking of Muncy…..
Thier announcers suck
I stumbled upon this article on Joc’s winter workout.
Too bad he had a tender wrist followed by a HBP that has not allowed him to showoff whatever he learned last winter.
Nice day for Taylor, and Muncy hit another. But then he pulled something and was taken out of the game. Score 10 and lose? Wow. JD Martinez and Freddie are hot.
We’re 4-6. Nobody seems to be gaining on us.
Not Stone. Apparently not Synderaard either. Urias out a while longer. Kershaw looks average. Gonsolin is good for 5 innings, though he didn’t get that last time out.
Who’s gonna step up?
That’s the $64,000 question
Stone and Outman are two of my favorite Dodgers.
They both need a trip to OKC as they are making it harder for us to win games in which they participate. They’ll be back, but for now neither one belongs on a MLB roster.
Grove seems ready to go and can replace Stone for now. If we need still another starter (injury or ineptitude) let’s see what Knack can do. Throw everyone against the wall (figuratively speaking) and see who sticks.
After one game 4.1 innings? That is jumping the gun a little. Bring up Knack for a spot start and go from there. Give Grove at least two more games. Outman should be sent down as soon as he gets back in LA> Thompson had his second good game of the year. He did good in those two and nothing else the rest of the year.
Both have multiple games and neither are ready. That doesn’t mean they won’t pitch, until someone else steps up they both are in play. We just have to score with them. We came close today.
Outman. Who replaces him if he’s sent down. He may be this year’s Bellinger, in which case we leave him there and trust he’ll figure it out.
Who replaces him?
We have Peralta, JHey, Trayce and CT3, all of whom can play the outfield. I assume that if they do actually send Outman to OKC, he’ll be replaced by Busch or Luke Williams on the roster. I don’t think they’re ready to add Jonny DeLuca quite yet.
They left Bellinger here for a couple of years and he didn’t get cured (if, in fact, he is cured) until he went to Chicago. That’s why I’m saying J.O. needs to get outta town so he can find the cure.
Outman is a centerfielder, and a good one. Heyward is the replacement, not those other guys.
I hope you’re wrong, but won’t be surprised if he’s dropped. He’s been awful for 74 plate appearances. That’s not a slump.
Right, not a slump. If we didn’t have so many non producers already, I could see leaving him in the rotation but not with so many other no shows. Heyward, Taylor, and possibly one of the minor leaguers could platoon there.
You have my sympathy, Blue. Outman looks like he’s hit the wall and dropping faster than an apple thrown from the Empire State Building. What started out as a feel good story is now a cautionary tale. It seems it is Vargas who has the legs in this race.
Stone, otoh, looks like a disaster. TB teed off on both him and Bickford. Both pitchers are not ready for MLB. Our pitchers are slowly disintegrating. Good thing our batters are still dangerous. Tampa Bay is a monster team. They could win it all if. they continue to play. as they have been.
The Dodgers have had a few pitchers who gave up home right and left (see what I did there?) Stone gives up singles, granted a lot of them. He needs to locate his fastball better but then I haven’t looked at any charts.
Outman needs to play a lot of pepper just like Joc had to do.