The following is a perspectives piece by The Shadow League columnist Rob Parker:
When the news broke that Miami Marlins’ outfielder Giancarlo Stanton agreed to a record-setting 13-year, $325 million deal, the first thing that came to mind was how African Americans have lost their way in Major League Baseball. Stanton, who is 25 and half-black, is the game’s next big superstar. Hopefully, many young black kids will look up to him and want to be just like him: strong, talented and paid.
It shouldn’t have to take loot, but maybe Stanton’s gigantic payday might jumpstart black people’s love for the game again. After all, baseball is our game. Somehow, we started thinking baseball is for others, not us. In 2014, blacks made up just 7.8% of players in MLB. We couldn’t be more wrong. Baseball is a part of our heritage, is cut from our cloth.
Since 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the national pastime, becoming the first African American player in the majors, the influence of our people has been great in the sport. Check the record books. It’s pretty amazing how dominant African Americans have been in a sport we weren’t even allowed to play in until 60 years or so ago, yet the sport has been around more than twice as long.