Jackie's Robinson's continuing impact

Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 08:28 am
In watching the World Series, I've been struck by the diversity of the players. Pedro Martinez of the Dominican Republic tries to strike out So Taguchi of Japan. Jeff Suppan of Oklahoma stares down Kevin Youklis, a nice Jewish boy from Ohio. Pokey Reese, an African-American from South Carolina, chats with white pitcher Woody Williams of Texas, and no one bats an eye at any of this.

And this is how it should be, I feel: it shouldn't matter. What did Martin Luther King say? "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Or perhaps by the quality of their hitting and fielding, or by how fast they can hurl a ball.

Let's go back, if you will indulge me, to a time before Jackie Robinson, to a separated country with separate baseball leagues. But let's bring it to the present. In today's lineups, who's missing? Who never gets an opportunity? Who ends up as a garage mechanic, rather than a Hall of Famer? Are expansion rosters not created because of a lack of lily white talent? Do the Negro Leagues flourish, or do they falter?

Let's talk about what today would be like if the color barrier had never been broken. What would today's teams be like? Where would the glaring holes be? And let's look at the Negro Leagues, if they still existed today. Would they get the advertising dollars and the TV time? Which markets would survive, and which would die on the vine? Where would the glaring holes be there?

Let's look at a far different face of baseball, one that is uniform and flat and not as exciting, and let's see what the sport would have been like if one courageous man and one courageous executive (Branch Rickey) had decided against a grand experiment in 1947.
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Region Philbis
Reply Sat 30 Oct, 2004 05:49 pm
i can't begin to imagine what baseball, football or basketball would be like if the color barrier hadn't been broken...
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