I think Jackie Robinson would be pleased that at least part of his dream of increasing the numbers of African-Americans in baseball, on and off the field, has been achieved. When he passed away in 1972, African-Americans were growing in numbers on the field, but front offices and league offices were run almost exclusively by white men. Jackie no doubt would have figured that growth on the players' side would continue, although he likely would have had a less clear picture for the prospects in management. So he'd be surprised that now, more than three decades later, the trends in African-American presence in MLB have taken the opposite direction. In 1972, Robinson could not have foreseen how the emergence of Latino, and to a lesser degree, Asian ballplayers has changed the game. But since Robinson was all about inclusion, I believe he would welcome that development.It goes on and on like this, with nearly every sentence kicked off by a presumptuous statement about how Robinson would feel about the state of racial diversity in the game. I'm not sure who deputized Lapchick to be Jackie's Spokesman on the Earthly Plane, but I will say this: each statement is less convincing when interpreted as the communication of a dead man's feelings than they are interpreted as a transparent attempt to cast the author's own work in an approving, Robinsonian Glow.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
*What Would Jackie Think? I can think of no one more qualified to answer that question than a presumably wealthy, white university chair: