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SBD/April 16, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Decline Of African-Americans In MLB Discussed As League Marks Jackie Robinson Day
Published April 16, 2012
MORE WORK TO BE DONE: Yesterday was Jackie Robinson Day throughout MLB, and in N.Y., Tim Smith writes when MLB decided that all players "would wear No. 42 every April 15, the day that Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947, it was one of the greatest things that the sport could have done." While it "doesn’t erase one of the ugliest stains on American history, it provides an opportunity to reflect on just how far America has come and just how far it has to go with regards to race relations." Sharon Robinson, Jackie's daughter, said, "It’s important that the young people hear that story." Yankees CF Curtis Granderson had sponsor New Balance "create a pair of cleats bearing the No. 42 logo that he wore" during last night’s game. He planned to "auction off the shoes and one of the two jerseys he wore following the game and donate the proceeds to the Jackie Robinson Foundation." Though the number of African-Americans playing in MLB has been "slowly declining over the years," Granderson does not see that as "diminishing Robinson's legacy." He said, "I don’t think Jackie’s image was to get just African-Americans to play, because in the Negro Leagues you had Latin Americans playing baseball because they couldn’t get a chance to play in the major leagues. It opened up doors for everybody. I think that’s the one thing he’d be proud of" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/16).
FOCUS ON FRONT OFFICE: In N.Y., William Rhoden writes there "needs to be a focus beyond the playing field," and MLB "needs a healthy pool of players who can be a prime source for front-office positions throughout the sport." Former MLB VP/Rules & On-Field Operations Bob Watson said, "We need to cultivate managers, minor league directors and executives. To attract young African-Americans and inspire them, they need to see people who look like them" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/16).