Commentary : These 10 Certainly Can Get the Job Done
Years of discrimination in baseball have created more problems than a few high-profile minority hirings can solve.
Teams need more than managers and general managers. They need physicians, receptionists, trainers, public relations representatives, salespeople, scouts, personnel directors, accountants, etc.
Until blacks and minorities fill those positions, baseball remains in the era of what sociologist Harry Edwards calls “James Crow, Esq.”
In the meantime, several black players have shown the potential to fill any high profile jobs that develop soon. The following 10 eligibles, in no particular order, could contribute well beyond their careers if allowed. They represent only a few of the blacks any baseball owner could turn to if he wishes to fill a top-level job in the major leagues.
--Joe Morgan. Knows the facets of the game as well as anyone. Supplemented his natural skills through observation. Won or came close everywhere he went. Intelligent, with an eye for gaining an edge. Could scout, manage, or build a roster.
--Don Baylor. A born leader who can be forceful without being disagreeable. Makes any team he’s on a better team, as he did for Red Sox last year. A veteran player rep with good pulse on the issues of the day.
--Reggie Jackson. Very analytical; good feel for the game for a slugger. Thinks big, with an ability to back it up. Loves a challenge. A frank, personable ambassador for the game. Might make a better executive than manager.
--Hal McRae. Never learned the meaning of the word “alibi.” Commands respect from teammates and opponents. Tough and dedicated, he played hurt and played to win. Would burn lots of midnight oil. Now a Royals’ hitting coach.
--Chris Chambliss. Quiet, dignified, dedicated individual. As a player, showed an ability to make the big play. Active career may be finished. An excellent find who may be available right now.
--Johnny Ray. When he’s ready to retire, the line should form to the right for the Pirates’ second baseman. Does his job with no fuss, and would be the same way in the front office.
--Bill Robinson. Now the New York Mets’ hitting instructor, would like to manage some day. Would accept an apprenticeship in winter ball but doesn’t want to go to minors. A worker and an observer.
--Willie Randolph. A class act. Even-tempered enough to survive years of turmoil in Yankee clubhouse. Has produced in various roles. Doesn’t mind a big spot; he just doesn’t make a big deal of it.
--Donn Clendenon. Baseball probably can’t get him; he has a career in law. This exemplifies the problem baseball has created: lots of black talent, sensing lack of opportunity, automatically goes elsewhere.
--Frank White. Has learned first-hand about efficient, productive organizations: he’s played second base for the Royals for a decade. A graceful man with something to say.