Looking Back on the Nightline Incident, and Would Jackie Really Be Proud Today ?

Pierre_42pierre_42running Juan Pierre, on Jackie Robinson Day, 4/15/2007, donning the number 42. 2007 was the first season all MLB teams would have the players don the number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day.

As we celebrate a historic moment in not only baseball but also in American history, with the decline of the amount of African-American players in the Major Leagues, would Jackie Robinson really be proud on this day that we honor him ?

Who else remembers that ill-fated evening when former Dodgers GM Al Campanis made those disparaging remarks ? Here’s a recent clip of Ted Koppel looking back on the Nightline interview from 1987, even to some degree defending Al Campanis

So, since the ill-fated Nightline incident in 1987, how much of an impact have African-American’s had on baseball since ? In a most recent research, African American’s make up only 8.05 percent of MLB players , while the NFL and NBA have African American players that make up up to 60 to 70 percent of the league. Perhaps baseball does not appeal to the African-American community’s youth as football and basketball do.

Could the economic structure of baseball also be playing a role in the decline of African American’s to the sport. It’s not as if MLB has not made any efforts to reach out to the African-American community, especially with programs like RBI .
How much has race relations in America really progressed since Hammerin’ Hank hit 715 ? Hank recently spoke out about this and he and the Atlanta Braves have recently been flooded with hate mail .

So, we ask the question, would Jackie Robinson be proud of the way things are today with this National Pastime that we love so dearly.


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