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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Small Black Starting MLB Pitcher Fraternity

Another Yahoo! editor, sports guy Tim Brown, wrote a nice piece on phenom David Price and superstar C.C. Sabathia's first head-to-head meeting;_ylt=AvF_h8_KcvY6HLZncqLLVtIRvLYF?slug=ti-sabathiaprice060509&prov=yhoo&type=lgns. David Price is paraphrased as saying he felt different from all his teammates growing up. Evan all the players on opposing teams, too. "It's tough to get started, and even tougher to stay out there" is how he puts the challenge of sticking out as the only African American.

The author makes a bit too much of the "being a model to those in the inner city" thing, in my opinion (First off, who is HE to say what their role should be? And is the assumption that every potential black major leaguer is in the inner city? None in the suburbs, the medium sized towns, or the rural South?)

The dearth of African American starting pitchers is startling, though. Earlier in my lifetime, Bob Gibson, Ferguson Jenkins, Vida Blue, and a little later, Dwight Gooden and Dave Stewart, to name a few, were dominant, year in and year out. From the beginning of the color line break, guys like Don Newcombe and ageless Satchel Paige were impressive. But for the past 10 years or so, you can count the number of black starting pitchers on your hands. And that's out of 30 teams, 150 slots plus injury fill-ins, probably 180 to 200 in any given year. Only 5%, if that, are non-Hispanic blacks.

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