Diamond Dirt: Who is the next Jackie Robinson?
Witnessing baseball’s observance of Jackie Robinson Day last Sunday got me thinking. Who is his descendant?
The number of African-Americans in baseball today is low and disappointing.
This was once a game, like America, full of diverse cultures; whites, blacks and Hispanics. But today, it’s not like that at all. It is an uneven recipe of mostly whites and Hispanics with a dash of black and Asian players.
Asian players are noticeably on the rise, while blacks are sparse. There are some teams out of the 30 major league clubs that don’t even have an African-American player.
This time there’s no barrier to break, no fight to face amongst races. There is, however, an effort needed. There is, however, a hero, a ballplayer needed to grab the attention of African-American youths in this country and bring their interests back to America’s game.
There hasn’t been a black player in baseball that has gripped the nation in the African-American community since Ken Griffey Jr. Someone needs to fill that void. And there are plenty of players today that can be the example.
There’s Andrew McCutchen in Pittsburgh, Brandon Phillips in Cincinnati, Ryan Howard in Philadelphia and of course Prince Fielder in Detroit. All of these men can be an inspiration to many kids who could grow up to be professional players.
The only question is, who will it be?
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier which allowed blacks to play Major League Baseball. Now baseball needs someone to be the man who brings them back.
Dominic Genetti writes for the Hannibal Courier-Post.