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Blue Jays greats weigh in on the lack of African-Americans in MLB

What’s the legacy of Jackie Robinson?

Robinson is one particular of the most influential African-American figures of our time. The legendary athlete created history in 1947 when he grew to become the initial African-American male to crack Key League Baseball’s colour barrier. For his influence on baseball, Robinson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in the United States, an award also supplied to the likes of Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks, Walt Disney and Mother Theresa.

Robinson is remembered as a civil legal rights hero famous for stating: “I was in two wars, one particular towards the foreign enemy, the other towards prejudice at home.”

Robinson — by baseball– assisted erase that prejudice. But 70 decades later on, the quantity of African-Americans taking part in MLB is trending in the other course.

Not extended soon after Jackie came Frank Robinson, who was the initial participant to acquire MVP in both the National and American Leagues. Robinson still ranks 10th on the vocation home run list with 586. In 1975 he grew to become MLB’s initial African-American manger. Just after staying a high-university teammate of Bill Russell (Curt Flood was also on the group), Frank Robinson — like Jackie Robinson just before him — chose baseball over basketball.

Robinson would have turned 100 this earlier New Year’s Eve. To celebrate: MLB is arranging a season-extended celebration.

And so it is a fitting time to study why baseball has fallen behind other key sports activities in attracting black athletes. I just lately huddled up with previous Toronto Blue Jays greats these as Joe Carter, Jesse Barfield, Devon White and Orlando Hudson, to question what they believe that are the explanations why African-Americans are turning absent from baseball.

• When the Toronto Blue Jays played their initial sport on April 7, 1977, 17.9 per cent of all MLB gamers were being African American.

• When the Blue Jays won back again-to-back again Entire world Collection titles in 1992 and ’93 the quantity was 16.7 per cent and 16.8 per cent, respectively.

• On Opening Day of the 2018 season, just 8.4 per cent of all MLB gamers were being African American.

Canadian Soccer League Hall of Famer Damon Allen was a location starter and reliever at Cal-Point out Fullerton. He was chosen in the MLB draft on four unique events.

Pat Mahomes Sr. pitched on the 1999 New York Mets group that confronted the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. The father of present-day Kansas Town Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, pitched 11 seasons in MLB. His son threw as tricky as 92 m.p.h. in high university, three MPH more quickly than his father. Dad was a three-activity athlete who had huge basketball scholarship presents and chose baseball. His son still chose soccer.

The most current tug of war between sports activities for multi-activity black males is the predicament for Oakland Athletics’ draft select Kyler Murray. According to stories MLB sent internet marketing executives from the league place of work to current Murray with his off-field earning opportunity.

But Murray has resolved to skip spring schooling to attend the NFL combine and enter the soccer draft soon after winning the Heisman trophy previous season with the Oklahoma Sooners.

What the Athletics ought to have demonstrated Murray is not what he may make taking part in baseball, but how tricky it is to make income taking part in soccer. Only three Heisman winners over the age of 25 are still in the NFL right now: Mark Ingram, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin. Tim Tebow would be an additional, but he’s now taking part in minor league baseball.

Only 10 Heisman winners have ever won the Super Bowl, and none due to the fact Charles Woodson in 1997. When Woodson would make the Pro Soccer Hall-of-Fame he will be only the 10th Heisman winner in the hall out of its 79 winners.

In soccer, even additional than baseball, staying fantastic in college or university does not assure achievement in the professionals.

Murray isn’t just a circumstance analyze, he’s a indication of the times. Younger black little ones are quickly slipping out of like with baseball in favour of other options, even when the historic details states they shouldn’t. Why is any of this crucial? Simply because baseball has been a symbolic activity for African Americans during the decades.

And supplied the sacrifices of Jackie Robinson, it would be a disgrace if it did not remain that way.

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