Black Pioneers in Baseball
By Maximillian Muhammad
The Negro Leagues, Jackie Robinson and Curt Floyd paved the way for the Griffeys, Bonds, Belles, Thomases, etc. of the current baseball world. It's good and not so coincidental that baseball is paying pension for Negro League ball players to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breakthrough in baseball. As far as I'm concerned, before Jackie on the Major league level there was no Baseball. When Negroes and other people of different origins came into the game then it became the Major Leagues; before that it was like Our Gang.
Money may be more now but back then, it was a matter of pride knowing you were part of the Negro leagues. The hostility that Mr. Robinson had to endure or the fact that Curt Floyd, like Muhammad Ali, took on the powers that be so future players weren't underpaid and forced into an unwelcomed atmosphere for life...the blood, guts, heart and soul to prove that yes, the Negro belongs and is here to stay. And baseball is as political as it gets in America.
The Majors have to make more advances for the youth, acknowledge there are wrongs, not single out a Barry Bonds or Albert Belle when the history of the game has been very bias toward Negro players from the jump. If a team is up for sale, give Blacks the opportunity to at least try to buy it. Don't wait another 50-plus years to say you're wrong. History needs to tell the truth in all walks of life but especially sports, 'cuz that's the American connection. It's the image the kids see. If Black faces aren't given the next step up in managerial or ownership roles, then it's the plantation all over again. In fact, it's that way 'cuz the powers that be haven't given that power enough.
It's time to step to the plate like the Negro League ball-players: Jackie Robinson, Curt Floyd and all the warriors who wanted change and still do.