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The 42s
2007-04-04 23:13
by Bob Timmermann

After Ken Griffey asked permission to wear #42 on April 15, the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut in the majors, there has been a rush to grab the number. (If you really like the idea, visit this guy's site.)

Other players will be announced in the coming days, but I'm not going to stay up late looking for the announcements. I'm guessing Mariano Rivera will wear #42 that day for the Yankees.

Players I'm guessing would also wear #42 would include Preston Wilson, Dontrelle Willis, and C.C. Sabathia, all of whom have been speaking out recently about opportunities for African-Americans in baseball. Sabathia later asked Barfield to wear #42 since he was not scheduled to pitch that day and Sabathia felt it should be displayed on the field, see the link above. Presently, the Braves, Rockies, and Astros have no African-American players on their 25-man roster.

(This will be updated as the comments will show.)

2007-04-04 23:56:05
1.   Greg Brock
So, no White dudes asked for #42? Crackers love Jackie too!

I have the perfect guy in mind:

2007-04-05 03:37:54
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
The Rockies have no African-Americans? What about LaTroy Hawkins?
2007-04-05 04:38:48
3.   Chiron Brown
I'd love to see some white guys wearing #42. I think that would be in the spirit. Obviously, African Americans had much more at stake in the struggle for civil rights but there were many whites for whom it was an essential fight. Until we can all steal home, none of us can steal home.
2007-04-05 05:02:37
4.   Ravenscar
I have a 42 tattooed on the inside of my left wrist, and I'm only slightly darker than Edgar Winter.

The Robinson thing was the double super-secret bonus of said tattoo. I got it because of a guy even whiter (globally) than me who wrote some books I like to think influenced my personality as I came of age in the magical 80's.

Geeks know.

2007-04-05 05:39:54
5.   rbj
The whole team wears #42? I thought that was unpossible.
2007-04-05 05:48:55
6.   mehmattski
It is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, after all.
2007-04-05 07:03:25
7.   D4P
Does "entire L.A. Dodgers squad" include Jeff Kent...?
2007-04-05 07:27:42
8.   Bob Timmermann
Sorry about that Mark, I didn't see the name of Latroy "Screaming line drive" Hawkins on the roster I was checking.

Or I was falling asleep.

2007-04-05 08:11:33
9.   Mark T.R. Donohue
8 And for that matter LaTroy will indeed be wearing #42 for the Rockies a week from Sunday.

2007-04-05 08:40:36
10.   dianagramr
Sadly, baseball has seemingly lost the African-American youth, as witnessed by the paltry # of blacks in the majors.

Is it socio-economically based? Is it a "marketing" issue?

Or is it also that there is a stronger drive to play ball in the Dominicans?

2007-04-05 08:51:29
11.   Bob Timmermann
It's not as if African-Americans are being systematically kept out of the sport. It's just not as popular as other sports.

The demographics of sports participants, including baseball, has changed a lot throughout out time.

We need more Irish guys back in the game! More Germans!

2007-04-05 09:28:20
12.   Ken Arneson
Last time I checked ( the ratio within MLB of African-Americans to Americans was still greater than the ratio of African-Americans to Americans in the general population.

Couldn't it just be that it was the previous decades that were the anomaly, and we are now heading towards a more natural equilibrium, where the demographic distribution of Americans in MLB reflects the demographic distribution in America as a whole?

2007-04-05 10:51:41
13.   rbj
Does the number of Blacks in MLB include Black Latinos such as El Duque, Jose Contreras, Mariano Rivera, or do they get labeled as Latinos?
2007-04-05 10:53:27
14.   Bob Timmermann
The latter.
2007-04-05 13:33:50
15.   Eric Enders
So that leaves only the Braves and Astros, both of whom merely have African-descended guys with American-sounding names. (Andruw Jones and Carlos Lee.)
2007-04-05 14:43:32
16.   bhsportsguy
Bob - Sorry I missed your talk, will it be up on streaming video later? Seriously which books did you talk about, how about the new one about the 1908 season, I am thinking of buying that one to read on Monday as I wait for the game to start.
2007-04-05 14:49:14
17.   Bob Timmermann
You were not alone in missing my talk.

I only had about 20 minutes or so to talk. I talked about "Ball Four" and its better predecessor "The Long Season".

Also "The Glory of Their Times."

"The Southpaw," which is my favorite baseball novel of all time.

I reviewed the various bios of Jackie Robinson that have come out. My favorite is "Baseball's Great Experiment" by Jules Tygiel.

I also discussed "Moneyball" and mentioned how it was really a book about how a business operation with limited revenues succeeds by trying to figure out the most efficient way to marshal its resources, although most in baseball didn't like it because "that's not how it was done."

2007-04-05 16:00:45
18.   bhsportsguy
That's a lot of talking unless no one else was asking questions, then 20 minutes by yourself can seem like an hour.
2007-04-05 16:04:26
19.   Bob Timmermann
It's hard to get questions when there's no one around.

I will have another talk in October. Then it will just be me for 45 minutes.


2007-04-05 21:37:15
20.   BruceR
In the Dodgers' case, it's a combo thing. Obviously honoring one of their greats, but it's also their 2007 goal for team HRs.
2007-04-06 01:39:25
21.   xaphor
I blame unstable soil for missing out on your talk Bob. If the subway continued down Wilshire as originally intended it would have been a quick hop over to the library.

I shall be making better plans for Bob Unplugged.

2007-04-06 08:33:04
22.   das411
12 - Bingo. Keep in mind that back in the '70s, which were the height of African-American representation in MLB, there were precisely how many MLB players of Asian origin?

And does nobody else really think Ichiro should wear #42 for the Mariners? I mean I can understand if Rhodes has been saying he wants to, but I think it's kind of missing the point for him to wear it when there is another MLB demographic pioneer ON THAT TEAM!

2007-04-06 09:18:28
23.   Bob Timmermann
How is Ichiro a demographic pioneer? There were several other Japanese players before him and Hideo Nomo was pretty famous when he started.
2007-04-06 09:32:55
24.   Daniel Zappala
So, wait, I can wear my Hideo Nomo jacket in honor of Jackie Robinson?
2007-04-06 10:06:05
25.   Bob Timmermann
You have to wear a Masanori Murakami jacket.

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