In 1947, one of the most important events in American History occured. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to cross the color barrier and play professional in the Major Leagues. Many historians will tell you that Mr. Robinson was not the best black ball player, he was simply the most “ready” to deal with the scrutiny that was sure to follow this courageous act.
In 1975, as many as 27% of all MLB players were black. Today that number is at about 8%, down from 16% just a decade or so ago. What happened? Why are fewer and fewer African Americans playing the game of baseball? The same sport that was dominated, by Jackie Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Doc Gooden and others is now a shadow of itself to this generation. Do we blame this generations lack of attention span on what some would call a “slow and arduous” game? Or maybe its basketball and footballs stars like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick & Lebron James demanding urban kids attention. Or is it the business decision made by MLB to use their recruiting resources in 3rd World countries instead of the urban centers like New York, LA and Chicago?
This week we will have Former Major League Pitcher Wayne Gomes (First Round Draft pick Philadelphia Phillies ’93) of the Virginia Baseball Academy (http://www.virginiabaseballacademy.com/). Also we will have James Ammons, Jr. Former FAMU Rattler and front office employee of the ATL Braves, Tampa Rays, Houston Astros, and Pittsburgh Pirates. We will dig into this topic with two guy who have loved baseball all their lives and are doing their part to keep baseball alive among the youth.
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