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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Genetti: Lack of black players will open baseball HOF doors to others

This anti-Jeter gunk has got to stop!

Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Bernie Williams and Willie McGee aren’t in the Hall of Fame.

But they will be.

...The last thing baseball is going to want is some statistic come out showing a small number of blacks inducted into the Hall of Fame over a certain amount of time, so the next thing — which will more than likely happen — is well-deserving black players will be inducted here and there over time.

Perhaps it’s a stretch to have this thought, but if you look at the great white and Hispanic players that have dominated the game over the last couple of decades, there’s really no outstanding black players to get excited over. That’s why this lack of African-American players in baseball will give those currently on the ballot a bigger opportunity. Even at this moment the only black player who is baseball Hall of Fame-worthy is Prince Fielder.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not going to be done out of sympathy, I just believe the powers that be are going to conserve these players so there’s no absence of African-Americans going into Cooperstown over the next 10 or more years.

All of the players I’ve mentioned are very much worthy of the Hall of Fame, I just hope they’re inducted sooner rather than later.

Repoz Posted: January 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM | 241 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fantasy baseball, hall of fame, history

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   201. CrosbyBird Posted: January 18, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4039806)
it depends exactly how you define those words. is grady sizemore Black or White? what about anwar sadat? if you look "White" but have a Black parent, then what?

It was meant as a joke.

The correct answer, as far as I'm concerned, is "who cares?" I didn't know that Jeter was half-black until someone told me; it never seemed like anything worthwhile to concern myself with.
   202. Don Malcolm Posted: January 18, 2012 at 07:36 PM (#4039811)
Paging Mark Armour, whose interesting essay on the first forty years of integration is worth a read, and then the following questions:

1) what happened after that? In terms of the charts and data presented in the article? (we know the basic answer, of course: decline)
2) what caused the decline?
3) what do these type of charts look like when non-caucasian players are counted as a single entity?

While the cultural distinctions are clearly cogent and worthwhile, the question to ask is whether African-Americans simply opted out of baseball due to opportunities in sports, the phenomenon of "positional constriction" as posited by Sean, or other factors?

Out of curiosity, what are the percentages of African-American athletes in football and basketball? (Oh, yeah, sure--hockey and soccer, too, please...!)
   203. Chicago Joe Posted: January 18, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4039826)
Sorry about this, but from the Adande article, discussing the Lakers' unusual whiteness:

When told that Brown has labeled him the leader of that second unit [which includes 4 other players who are white], World Peace's eyes lit up.

"Obama!" he said.
   204. Booey Posted: January 18, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4039827)
Not a baseball question, but we're on the subject so I'm gonna ask it anyway:

How come whenever someone is half black they're always considered black and not white (or whatever the second race is)? I've never heard of the President referred to as white, even though that would be just as accurate as calling him black. Halle Berry is always considered black. I never hear anyone talking about Tiger Woods as being Asian. And when people start up a conversation about the best black players in MLB, Derek Jeter is always mentioned (like he was here), but no one brings up the likes of Jason Kidd or Deron Williams when they're talking about the best white players in the NBA.

Thoughts?
   205. Blastin Posted: January 18, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4039831)
Comes from many many decades of the "one-drop" rule.
   206. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 18, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4039855)
While the cultural distinctions are clearly cogent and worthwhile, the question to ask is whether African-Americans simply opted out of baseball due to opportunities in sports, the phenomenon of "positional constriction" as posited by Sean, or other factors?

My take is that it's a combination several factors beyond the whole argument about which sports are "cool" and which sports aren't. First, there's the defunding of baseball on the high school level. Second, the migration of blacks towards cities and the dwindling of urban open spaces for informal sports activities. Third, the low costs and general ease of basketball participation on the pickup level. Fourth, the high cost and social isolation of travel team baseball. Fifth, the integration of southern and border state colleges over the past 40-45 years. Sixth, the explosion of Division I football and basketball into being major sources of revenue for an increasing number of colleges, with a near-universal acceptance of the "win at all costs" mentality, which in turn leads to lower academic admissions standards. These last two factors have been particularly critical.

Put it all together, and you get this: In the years that African Americans were ascendant in baseball (roughly 1947-70), the football and basketball options for talented black high school students were nowhere near what they are today. Add the enticement of a free college education compared to the prospect of an uncertain existence in the minor leagues, and the decline of African Americans in baseball relative to the NFL and NBA since the early 70's had to be one of the easier social trends to predict.

Out of curiosity, what are the percentages of African-American athletes in football and basketball? (Oh, yeah, sure--hockey and soccer, too, please...!)

Don't know or care about hockey or soccer, but the rough percentage of African Americans in the NFL is about 65%, and in the NBA it's about 82%.
   207. Booey Posted: January 18, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4039870)
Put it all together, and you get this: In the years that African Americans were ascendant in baseball (roughly 1947-70), the football and basketball options for talented black high school students were nowhere near what they are today. Add the enticement of a free college education compared to the prospect of an uncertain existence in the minor leagues, and the decline of African Americans in baseball relative to the NFL and NBA since the early 70's had to be one of the easier social trends to predict.


I think this is mostly true, but my only question is where are all the "normal" sized African American athletes going instead of playing baseball? Since the average NBA player is probably around 6'7 and the average NFL player is likely around 250 lbs (I'm just guessing on these numbers, so feel free to correct me), most MLB players wouldn't be tall enough to make it in the NBA or big enough to make it in the NFL. This makes me wonder if these sports are really drawing from the same talent pool as often as it may seem at first glance.
   208. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: January 18, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4039872)
Edit: Although I believe it was SugarBear who once challenged me to a fight, so I guess he already disliked me. No loss I guess.


Me too. I thought I was the only one.
   209. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 18, 2012 at 09:13 PM (#4039876)
Good questions, Booey (#207), but perhaps it's simply a case of the decreasing number of opportunities at the developmental level for those "normally" sized African American athletes. Or to put it another way, where can they display their baseball talents for potential scouts if their high school or their neighborhood doesn't even field a baseball team?
   210. Booey Posted: January 18, 2012 at 09:36 PM (#4039887)
Or to put it another way, where can they display their baseball talents for potential scouts if their high school or their neighborhood doesn't even field a baseball team?

ALL high schools should be required to field a baseball team. Even if they have to cut funding from the arts and math and science to do it. :)
   211. cardsfanboy Posted: January 18, 2012 at 09:39 PM (#4039888)
but how log did Sandy Koufax feel like a HOFer?


five fantastic seasons before he was thirty and retiring while still performing at the top of his game. I don't think anyone thinks of him as a late peaker, considering his first good season was when he was 25 years old.

I also don't think Halladay falls into the category of "didn't feel like a hofer". Outside of Pujols, not many players feel like a hofer to the press before they reach 25 years old. Halladay falls into the category of not enough of a career, and the perception that his best years weren't Koufax. (of course I also think this board over rates the vote total Pedro is going to get, I'll be mildly surprised if he goes in on the first ballot, and even if he does, anything over 85% would be a shocker) The low win total, without the bloody sock or 200 saves, is going to hurt him to some extent.

I think it's a fool's errand to predict what the voters will hold against a particular candidate.

probably, but it's still fun, and some reasonable assumptions could be made. I agree that Frank Thomas is going to probably be hit by his sticking around long, but I think that him sticking around long also gives some career centric voters ammo to vote for him that might make it a net wash.

I agree with the list of locks at Chipper, Pujols, Jeter, Ichiro and Rivera, think that Thome and Vlad are as close to being locks as humanly possible without being locks(and in Thome's case only because of the stupidity of the roid voters, regardless of evidence)

edit:reading more of the thread, and Pudge and Vizquel joins the Thome and Vlad level of locks, Pudge only misses if roids becomes an issue for him, and Vizquel only misses if stat guys get a stranglehold of the vote.
   212. Chicago Joe Posted: January 18, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4039891)
Re: "Judge" poster:

Is it me, or does McKinley look like he's throwing a gang sign? Ways and Means, represent!
   213. Don Malcolm Posted: January 18, 2012 at 10:21 PM (#4039916)
Andy, that's a fine summary, but look at Mark's charts...predicting a decline based on how things look at the endpoint of the data (1986) is simply not the trend that analysts would have been expecting then. I can't locate a chart that covers the full period, but J.C. Bradbury looked at the 1991-2008 period, where the data shows that the percentage of African-Americans had already dropped from the mid-to-high 20s plateau shown in Mark's chart down to under 20%.

I think figuring out what was happening in the 1980s and 1990s is one large part of the effort, but what's also clear from J.C.'s data is that this downward trend accelerated in the late 90s and again the past decade.

BTW, the 52 African-American players that the "quiz" identified (which seems to be missing a few people, mostly part-time players...) lists 30 OF, 6 2B, 5 1B, 3 SP, 3 RP, 3 SS, 1 3B, 1 DH.
   214. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 18, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4039950)
My personal favorite moment of frustration over AA/Black was when I was writing for a newspaper and the copy desk editor kept 'correcting' my reference to 'black', insisting that Linford Christie be described as an 'African American'. I had to tell her Christie was British about 28 times before she figured it out.


One of the weirdest things my Dad ever said to me was when he referred to Lewis Hamilton as "African-American". Hamilton is a black Englishman. Seems pretty cut-and-dried to me...
   215. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:26 AM (#4039986)
I hate to be the guy to do this, but doesn't it seem just as likely that the economic state of the country has as much to do with the drop in black players as anything? Black people are disproportionately poor, and disproportionately underrepresented in a relatively expensive game to play.

Also, y'all forgot D-Train. Almost won a CY.
   216. Booey Posted: January 19, 2012 at 01:38 AM (#4040006)
Vizquel only misses if stat guys get a stranglehold of the vote.


I don't know; I wouldn't consider Vizquel anywhere near a sure thing, actually. His supporters will point to Ozzie Smith as the obvious comparison, but if you look at the number of all star games Ozzie was selected to (15) compared with Omar (2), as well as the number of years they received MVP votes (6 for Smith, including a 2nd place finish in 1987 - just 1 for Vizquel, 16th in 1999) it's pretty obvious they weren't held to equal esteem during their careers. Smith played at a time and in a league when a shortstop wasn't expected to hit, so while a few of his later all star appearances came from his popularity, his fielding really did make him the best shortstop in the NL for almost an entire decade before Larkin came into his own.

Vizquel on the other hand was competing in the AL with the likes of Ripken, A-Rod, Jeter, Nomar, and Tejada his whole career, at a time when a great fielding no hit shortstop just didn't seem as impressive. I never heard anyone suggest that Omar might even have a shot at the HOF until a couple years ago when he broke the games played record for SS and people started to notice just how long he'd been a productive player. But is just showing up and being pretty good for a long time enough to make someone a HOFer? I'm sure Jack Morris and his supporters say yes, but I think enough voters will be turned off by a lone all star appearance to make Vizquels chances something well short of a lock, even ignoring those pesky stat geeks. :)
   217. Greg K Posted: January 19, 2012 at 04:02 AM (#4040024)
How come whenever someone is half black they're always considered black and not white (or whatever the second race is)? I've never heard of the President referred to as white, even though that would be just as accurate as calling him black. Halle Berry is always considered black. I never hear anyone talking about Tiger Woods as being Asian. And when people start up a conversation about the best black players in MLB, Derek Jeter is always mentioned (like he was here), but no one brings up the likes of Jason Kidd or Deron Williams when they're talking about the best white players in the NBA.

I think it's a particular cultural thing in America (and perhaps Canada)
I know in Latin America (and here I may be getting out of date. The Latin America I'm familiar with is 19th century), definitions of mixed races get a lot more specific, and depended on who the african/peninsulara/mestizo/mulatto/native in your background was. For instance if both maternal grandparents were African, one paternal grandparent mestizo and one native, you were X, and so on through the combinations. I forget how many combinations had actually identities, but I recall one was called "The Wolf". Which would be an awesome race to be in my mind.

Apparently Brazil still currently has a pretty open-ended racial definition system. Wiki says a recent survey on race had over 100 different categories, though in reality there are 28 usable racial categories, and most Brazilians just use seven.

I'd guess the difference was that in the US there was a lot less of a hierarchy. To borrow from a previous post, you were either white or you weren't. There wasn't much point in distinguishing racial identity once you dipped below the "all-white" line. So any black made you black.
   218. Greg K Posted: January 19, 2012 at 04:04 AM (#4040025)
I also don't think Halladay falls into the category of "didn't feel like a hofer".

As a Jays fan it blows my mind that this is even in question.
   219. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 19, 2012 at 04:07 AM (#4040027)
I think this is mostly true, but my only question is where are all the "normal" sized African American athletes going instead of playing baseball? Since the average NBA player is probably around 6'7 and the average NFL player is likely around 250 lbs (I'm just guessing on these numbers, so feel free to correct me), most MLB players wouldn't be tall enough to make it in the NBA or big enough to make it in the NFL. This makes me wonder if these sports are really drawing from the same talent pool as often as it may seem at first glance.

This assumes teenage or younger athletes make a rational assessment of their odds of playing professionally in a specific sport, and there's not much evidence they do. Go to just about any inner-city basketball or football game, and you'll see at least several premium black athletes who have basically no chance at a D-I scholarship, let alone a pro contract. But telling a teenage kid his dream is dead is a tough task; basketball and football coaches aren't going to push their best players toward other sports; and by the time a kid is a 17-year-old high school junior and figures out that being a 5'9" point guard or a 6'1" forward isn't going to cut it in D-I (let alone the NBA), it's too late for him to pick up baseball (notwithstanding the fact many of the schools in question don't even have a baseball team).
   220. Ron J Posted: January 19, 2012 at 06:01 AM (#4040037)
#77 AROM there's something oddly similar that happens in football. I've seen a lot of teams from my years of reffing and I could pick out the quarterback with a fair degree of reliability before they ever got to the field.

Oh he wasn't black. Generally speaking, tall, blond. Rarely fast. Never skinny but not overweight.

The exceptions were the guys who could actually throw.

The black guys were disproportionately "deep threats"
   221. Ron J Posted: January 19, 2012 at 06:16 AM (#4040038)
The nativists didn't complain about the Germans and Scandinavians..


My grandfather was an itinerant schoolteacher who mostly taught Hunkies and Bohunks.

IE Not accepted as "white" back in the good old days.
   222. Morty Causa Posted: January 19, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4040076)
Same applies to rednecks and crackers in the South. Or my special ethnic niche--Cajuns weren't, and aren't, called "coonasses" as a compliment, except, as with Blacks when it comes to "ngger", when it's used by members of that group about themselves.

When considering the question of why a formerly heavily represented group in a particular sport (or any other employment area) rather suddenly isn't as heavily represented in that sport, we might want to look at whether opportunities expanded for that particular class or group. I think the opportunities that suddenly flourished after WWII for whites had something to do with why they subsequently weren't as heavily represented in baseball for a while (until the money got ridiculous.)

We know of course that Blacks began to come into baseball when the color barrier was broken. There was a huge pool of talent waiting for the opportunity. Plus, for a while it something of a cachet to a Black person to be in baseball—a celebrity thing. However, I would submit that the degree of their representation in baseball might have been influenced by the fact that after WWII the educational and employment opportunities for Whites suddenly took a quantum leap. Maybe Whites who would have gone into sports and baseball in particular went to college or voc-tech schools under the GI bill. Plus there was just more money for them—not just government programs.

Something similar to what happened to the Whites after WWII might have started to happen with American Blacks after the Civil Rights era of the ‘60’s. Suddenly many of them had opportunities to do other stuff. Their choices weren't so narrowly confined as before. That could explain some of it. If a young Black athlete weren’t a physical freak, which almost mandated he stick with football or basketball, early in his schooling a Black person might have decided on another course toward a career—a more academic one maybe. The Latins still went for baseball because they weren’t citizens and didn’t have those choices early on like the young American Black athletes. (Plus, of course, as I said, the money is ridiculous now.) They could become writers for the NYT’s now—or actors who were well-paid, or professors in college, or scientists. That has to make a difference, I think. When you have choices you didn’t have before, often you change directions early on (or later on, too).
   223. BDC Posted: January 19, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4040127)
he wasn't black. Generally speaking, tall, blond. Rarely fast. Never skinny but not overweight

I went to high school and college in the 1970s. Both schools I attended were basketball powers. In both my senior years, the starting lineups (both went to a championship game) consisted of four black guys and a 6'2" white guard. (Actually the white guard on the high school team [relative to the league, of course] was a very good player, the college guy less so.) That was a typical lineup for the day, only 30-35 years ago (one might call it the "Loyola lineup" as opposed to the "Texas Western plan" :)

You could also often pick out the quarterback or point guard from the back of his uniform if you knew the name of a prominent local business, a car dealership perhaps :)
   224. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4040229)
Same applies to rednecks and crackers in the South.


Lord knows my feelings were never hurt.

When considering the question of why a formerly heavily represented group in a particular sport (or any other employment area) rather suddenly isn't as heavily represented in that sport, we might want to look at whether opportunities expanded for that particular class or group.


Well that's one way of looking at it, but it isn't nearly as fun as some of the others.
   225. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4040265)
Yeah, that Clemens guy was just a flash in the pan.
Don't know if you've heard, but he used steroids, so he doesn't count.
   226. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4040270)
There are a lot of kinds of real-world racism that slice divisions much more finely than that. My mother's family (and their friends/neighbors) are mostly Rusyns, and over the years I've heard a lot of varying opinions on the merits (or lack thereof) of Slovaks, Moravians, Hutsuls, etc., even though most outside observers wouldn't be able to tell the one from the other.

Is that the way it works in MLB? I have no idea - I'm not a part of that. But it's not an inherently crazy idea on the face of things. (No more so than racism in general, anyway.)
Yeah, but that isn't apposite. You're talking about people within a broader group making distinctions between themselves and others in other subgroups within that group. The question was about outsiders making those distinctions. One Slav may feel himself to be very different than another -- but an anti-Slav German isn't going to care about those distinctions.

The issue here was whether hypothetical racist whites would draw distinctions between dark blacks born in the Caribbean or in Texas.
   227. Booey Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4040277)
One of the weirdest things my Dad ever said to me was when he referred to Lewis Hamilton as "African-American". Hamilton is a black Englishman. Seems pretty cut-and-dried to me...

Yeah, in cases like this, an attempt at political correctness often just adds to the confusion. The best example of this absurdity I've heard was during a stand up comedy act when the comedian was talking about the new Star Wars movies and referred to Samuel L. Jackson's character as a black Jedi Knight, and a woman called out to correct him, "African American Jedi Knight!" The comic replied back, "Uh, lady, this is STAR WARS, in a galaxy far, far away! There's NO Africa, there's NO America!"
   228. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4040286)
And he wasn't much of a Jedi either.
   229. base ball chick Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4040289)
Booey Posted: January 18, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4039827)

Not a baseball question, but we're on the subject so I'm gonna ask it anyway:

How come whenever someone is half black they're always considered black and not white (or whatever the second race is)? I've never heard of the President referred to as white, even though that would be just as accurate as calling him black. Halle Berry is always considered black. I never hear anyone talking about Tiger Woods as being Asian. And when people start up a conversation about the best black players in MLB, Derek Jeter is always mentioned (like he was here), but no one brings up the likes of Jason Kidd or Deron Williams when they're talking about the best white players in the NBA.

Thoughts?



- like blastin said, the ol 1 drop rule

although there is an interesting kind of twist to that because people who don't "look Black enough" like kris humphries or grady sizemore or coby bell or cash warren. people with fairly light skin who don't have kinky hair or a wide nose are not considered to be Black unless they speak Black english.

we had a foster child who had very light skin, blond hair and blue eyes who had a Black father (and the trait to prove it) and i promise you that when she checks off Black on any forms, people are gonna get pissed, just like light skinned, light eyes mexican americans. people want to put people in nice categories even when sometimes it ain't quite so simple.

and then there are people like mr breakfast who get all Up Set when people try to explain that there are ethnic and cultural differences between 2 groups of "look alike" people - like say the slavs and the scandinavians.

tiger woods is considered Black because he has dark skin, full lips and fairly wide nose. even though he is mostly Asian. lots of thai people have dark skin, which i think most people don't know/care about. but i am very sure that if tiger had light skin and looked like, say, chow-yun fat - and had a name like, say, chow-yun, he would be categorized as asian. think of the difference between him and The Rock - people think of him as polynesian, although he has as much, if not more Black ancestry than tiger.

i also think that here in the US, the old louisiana system of quantifying just HOW Black you are (colored, mulatto, quadroon - etc) disappeared in the Black Pride movement, so there is no system like the brazilian one grek UK talks about anymore.

truth is that a LOT of us who are labeled "Black" or "White" are mixed race. Most everyone I know who is a Black texan whose ancestors have lived in Texas or louisiana or oklahoma for at least 100 years have at least 1 White or NA ancestor in the past 6 generations. and "white" texans also have at least 1 ancestor who is NA and/or mexican (meaning Indian not just spanish from spain). and sometimes, even one who is "french" which, according to White people in my mama's generation, means an ancestor from louisians, who had (shudder) Negro ancestry.

there are 2 guys on this here board whose pics i have seen - have a lot of NA ancestry and you can see it immediately when you look at them - but they are "white" - and actually, one of them, when we first started chatting, i asked him what tribe he was because i thought he was more NA than caucasian (was wrong about that) but he was surprised i picked it up right off.

anyway, the story is that people take a look at you, put you in some kind of category to deal with you. which is why Black people are extra tall and extra fast and get put in the OF if they play baseball...
   230. Morty Causa Posted: January 19, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4040335)
Yeah, that Clemens guy was just a flash in the pan.

Don't know if you've heard, but he used steroids, so he doesn't count.

Yeah, if bourbon and big black cigars are PEDs he was a definite user.

Just as a note: I hate when I see Twain referred to as a "humorist".
   231. Greg K Posted: January 19, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4040339)
so there is no system like the brazilian one grek UK talks about anymore.

Interesting post as always

I'd correct you on the spelling, but I have myself spelled it that way on occasion. Most embarassingly on a few tests in elementary school. My last name starts with a K and sometimes I just get a little ahead of myself. Among my former classmates who still remember (luckily very few) I am still known as Grek Goabel.
   232. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 19, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4040340)
although there is an interesting kind of twist to that because people who don't "look Black enough" like kris humphries or grady sizemore or coby bell or cash warren. people with fairly light skin who don't have kinky hair or a wide nose are not considered to be Black unless they speak Black english.

I had a gf in college who had a relatively dark skinned black father with a French name (Charpentier) and a mother who was as white as Barbara Bush. My gf was light skinned, talked "black", lived in a black DC neighborhood near Coolidge High School, and was often asked about her race by whites---"Are you part Thai?" was a question she heard more than once. Her hair was nappy but not Afro-nappy, and her nose was tiny. Her father had passed by the time I got to know her, and her mother, who frequently dropped racial remarks about blacks, nevertheless dated black men almost exclusively. It was a most interesting family situation, to say the least.

In my work in SNCC, one of their leading organizers was a coffee colored guy whose eyes were so completely blue that his nickname within the movement was "the blue eyed devil". My take on all this is that the world is one ###### up place when it comes to matters of race.
   233. Greg K Posted: January 19, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4040353)
A friend of mine is half-Jamaican, half-Chinese.

He looks 100% Chinese while his sister looks 100% Jamaican. I imagine they have a lot of fun when they are introduced as siblings.
   234. base ball chick Posted: January 19, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4040366)
Jolly Old St. Neck Wound, Moral Idiot Posted: January 19, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4040340)

...her mother, who frequently dropped racial remarks about blacks, nevertheless dated black men almost exclusively.



- amused
kind of reminds me of thomas jefferson having slaves but making one of them his, uh, lifetime partner and mother to his children

people are complicated....
   235. Don Malcolm Posted: January 19, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4040515)
Just as a note: I hate when I see Twain referred to as a "humorist".

Yes, the people who haven't taken the opportunity to read Twain's later works, beginning with the one that actually addresses the "1 drop" issue that bbc was discussing above (Pudd'nhead Wilson), have never gotten past the one-liners to the pain and the crisis of belief that is always at the root of things in his oeuvre.

However, I would submit that the degree of their representation in baseball might have been influenced by the fact that after WWII the educational and employment opportunities for Whites suddenly took a quantum leap.

Possible. But the integration numbers themselves don't suggest quantum leaps or flood tides that would be attributable to such an occurrence. There were 38 dark-skinned players who'd been brought to the majors by the end of 1953 (source: Moffi and Kronstadt, Crossing the Line). That includes dark-skinned Latins, mostly Cubans. That's about five a year. 1953 was the first year where the total of dark-skinned players making debuts cracked double figures, which it continued to do through 1959 (end of period studied by Moffi and Kronstadt, cutoff point was when all sixteen teams had integrated).

The actual roster percentage in any given year is what Mark was tracking: his data shows that the first time dark-skinned players represented 10% of the player population was in 1958. So it's uncertain that other social forces were affecting the process all that much.

What we might want to see, however, is the breakdown by position of the 116 players chronicled by Moffi and Kronstadt:

OF-40, SP-19, RP-11, 1B-11, SS-9, C-9, 2B-8, UT-5, 3B-4

Here's the breakdown from the sporcle quiz (which is almost certainly incomplete):

OF-30, SP-3, RP-3, 1B-5, SS-3, C-0, 2B-6, UT-0, 3B-1, DH-1

Salient percentage comparisons: 34% OF, 47-59; 58% today. 25% P 47-59; 12% today. 7% 2B 47-59; 12% today. 9% 1B 47-59, 10% today. 8% C 47-59, 0% today.

That last one seems particularly inaccurate with the number of Latin catchers in MLB today.



   236. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 19, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4040555)
big black cigars


It's twue! It's twue!
   237. The Good Face Posted: January 19, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4040585)
big black cigars


It's twue! It's twue!


Supposedly they cut Cleavon Little's followup line to that, which was "Pardon me, but you're sucking on my elbow."
   238. Morty Causa Posted: January 19, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4040662)
Yes, the people who haven't taken the opportunity to read Twain's later works, beginning with the one that actually addresses the "1 drop" issue that bbc was discussing above (Pudd'nhead Wilson), have never gotten past the one-liners to the pain and the crisis of belief that is always at the root of things in his oeuvre.


Not to mention his later fiction, like the short novel The Mysterious Stranger, or short stories like "The Great Dark," and his nonfiction work that concentrates on social and political issues. His views on these issues (like wrt race, ethnics, like outrages against the Chinese, jingoism, etc.) still seem modern and cogent. Plus, they demonstrate that remarkable temperament and character always comes through. He wrote too damn much, in the final analysis, but there's loads and loads of great stuff. I haven't had time to read the new autobiography. I understand there are definite formal drawbacks of a more or less technical nature (print size, heftiness) to the thing as a whole. I wish the editors would have come out with a reader's edition first.

EDIT: Looking at his life and work, the changes are remarkable. Not many of us evolve like that. It speaks of an integrity and a commitment that is fairly awe-inspiring.
   239. Don Malcolm Posted: January 19, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4040732)
I haven't had time to read the new autobiography. I understand there are definite formal drawbacks of a more or less technical nature (print size, heftiness) to the thing as a whole. I wish the editors would have come out with a reader's edition first.

There are many editions of Twain's autobiography, but the Berkeley version will be the only one that presents the entirety...and if you revere Twain as much as it seems to be the case, then it's the only one that will do the trick. The editors are more than capable of getting carried away in the details, but given the rat's nest of materials that they've been wading through for the past hundred years (nearly 50 of 'em in their little cubbyhole above the Bancroft Library) it's little wonder that they want to do things as thoroughly as possible.

As was the case with other works in Berkeley's Twain series, a reader's edition will only appear when they're done with all of their arduous but ardent reconstruction.

But we digress...
   240. Bug Selig Posted: January 20, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4041416)
The discussion of high school opportunities made me think of another factor that may be steering black (more directly poor, but that means disproportionately black) kids away from baseball:

If your motivation for pursuing a sport is that it is the only way you can afford a college education, baseball is a sucker's bet. D1 baseball teams divvy up 11.7 equivalent scholarships. FBS football teams have 85 free rides to give. (FCS has 63 equivalent scholarships.) If your motivation is try to get your schooling paid for, hit the weight room, young man.
   241. DL from MN Posted: January 20, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4041430)
It wasn't until about 1960 that a black kid could get an athletic scholarship and probably 1975 that a southern black kid who wasn't a supreme talent could get an athletic scholarship close to home. That expansion of opportunity lines up quite nicely with the beginning of the decline for black baseball talent.
   242. Morty Causa Posted: January 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4045011)
Both wrt to a career outside sports and one in? Scholarships and perquisites, I presume, for football and basketball (other stuff to some extent) were much better than for baseball, since MLB quit attaching itself to colleges in the (what?) thirties. So blacks were enticed and diverted from baseball into other sports, as well as into other non-sport career tracks. Especially as they started getting non-athletic scholarships and grants and loans and other aid.
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