Fifty years after Jackie Robinson, you need only four fingers to count the number of minority managers in major-league baseball. Not embarrassing enough?
Fifty years after Jackie Robinson, you also can count the number of
minority general managers, farm directors and scouting directors on one hand.
If baseball truly wants to honor Robinson's memory, it should state its
sins before President Clinton tonight at Shea Stadium, and confess to the
minority-hiring "achievements" of its 30 major-league clubs.
One general manager.
Three farm directors.
One scouting director.
If baseball wants to talk about Jackie's legacy, let's talk about Jackie's
Let's talk about the doors that are still closed.
Fifty years later, six of the game's eight highest-paid players are
minorities. But another Robinson sits home in Los Angeles, unable to find a
meaningful job in baseball.
If Jackie Robinson is a symbol of the game's progress, then Frank Robinson
has become a symbol of its failures.
He was a Hall of Fame player who became the first black manager and wanted
to be the first black GM. But he hasn't worked in baseball since the Orioles
fired him as their assistant GM in December 1995.
Maybe it's his age - Robinson is 61.
Maybe it's his strong personality.
Maybe he just wasn't in the right place at the right time.
None of the above, all of the above, it really doesn't matter.
When you're a minority aspiring to a decision-making position in baseball,
it's almost always something.
"On the field, I have no quarrels about that, as far as the players,"
Frank Robinson said. "But they're still dragging their feet as far as the
managers and coaches. And let's not even go to the front office, my goodness.
"It's awful. It's terrible. It's the way it used to be on the field, as
far as coaches and managers."
Even in those positions, the numbers are leveling off - 22 percent of
major-league managers, trainers, scouts, coaches and instructors are
minorities, compared with 20 percent in 1989, according to the 1995-96 report
of the Major-League Baseball Equal Opportunity Committee.