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African-americans Newsbeat

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

CC Sabathia’s summer of Black brotherhood

This is a series of nine stories on the African-American experience in baseball.

The year before, in spring training, Sabathia had expressed frustration with baseball. He had been the lone Black player on Cleveland’s 25-man roster the year prior and was entering a season in which he and Dontrelle Willis were the game’s only significant Black starting pitchers. Baseball was deep into the era of the vanishing Black star.

“It’s not just a problem,” Sabathia said that spring. “It’s a crisis.”

He caused a stir. Some dismissed his comments as dramatic, but the problem of Black representation continues today. His generation signifies a period in which the bridge collapsed.

Svrluga: 60 feet 6 inches is a hallowed baseball number. It might be time for a change.

Sabathia, 41, fell in love with the game while shadowing his father, which meant he grew up idolizing stars who looked like him. As a boy from Vallejo, Calif., Sabathia worshiped Oakland’s Dave Stewart and Dave Parker. During his childhood, he related to many of the MVPs: George Bell, Rickey Henderson, Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., Mo Vaughn, Andre Dawson, Kevin Mitchell, Barry Bonds, Terry Pendleton, Barry Larkin. He saw Dwight Gooden and Stewart win 20 games and dreamed of doing the same.

But by the time Sabathia had established himself in the big leagues, the days of abundant Black talent were over. He had too much personality to be a loner. Still, he didn’t feel he could be himself.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 17, 2021 at 02:05 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: african-americans, cc sabathia

 

 

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