Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Absence of the African-American Player on the SF Giants Roster

Earlier this year, Major League Baseball conducted their annual amateur first-year baseball draft. Desperate teams and eager ballplayers were joined to the hip as teams made their selections. In reality, it doesn’t change year-after-year ... can’t miss prospects and diamonds in the rough players are selected, and then introduced to the world one-by-one. As the Giants made their picks, something became transparent to us while scanning the 2013 Big League club roster. It’s a club that’s predominantly made up of Caucasian players, and a good showing of Latin players, and one Asian player from Japan.

Now, we all know that in the last few decades African-American kids have been drawn to other sports, most notably basketball and football, but why has the African-American ballplayer eluded the Giants club? Consider this, according to Major League Baseball, 8.5% of the players on opening day rosters were African American, up from 8.1% last year. That made us thinking ... how many African-American players are currently on the 25-man roster for the Giants? Zero. How many African-American coaches are on the Giants roster fulltime? Zero (Shawn Dunston is only part-time).  The last African-American player on the roster was Emmanuel Burriss in 2012, and before Burriss it was Darren Ford and Fred Lewis - all had short lived stints with the club. In 2012, as spring training camp was breaking it appeared that Marc Kroon would make the club as a reliever, but he didn’t and was relegated to Fresno. Even with some bullpen issues (Wilson going down in the first week) during the season he was never called up. Could all of this be the residual effect from having Barry Bonds for so many years? We’ll never know, but it is alarming.

In addition, after further inspection it seems the lack of African-American employees could also apply to key leadership positions within the club as well. Based on our due diligence, it doesn’t appear as if any African-American or any minority holds any key leadership positions with the club. Among the most high profile African-Americans in the franchise are Renel Moon Brooks (public address announcer) and Brandon Evans (Giants clubhouse attendant). Now we know that others will highlight that the club still employs Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, but let’s be honest, their roles are just ceremonial at this point - ambassadors for the club. Oh, let’s not forget about the Hispanic and Asian communities either.

Should all of this be concerning to the fan base? Perhaps ... that’s up to each individual to decide for their own. However, for a city that is diverse as San Francisco, and for a team that has had such a rich history of African-American ballplayers wearing the black & orange uniform ... perhaps the question should be raised.

African-Americans in the Giants farm system:
  • Fresno: None
  • Richmond: One (Travious Relaford)
  • San Jose: One (Chris Lofton)
  • Augusta: One (Shawn Payne)
  • Salem-Keizer: One (Kentrell Hill)
African-Americans currently on a 25-man roster in the Majors*
San Francisco - zero
Boston - zero
Texas - zero
Seattle - zero
Arizona - zero
Baltimore - 1, Adam Jones
Minnesota - 1, Aaron Hicks
White Sox - 1, Donnie Veal
St. Louis - 1, Jon Jay
Cubs - 1, Edwin Jackson
Colorado - 1, Dexter Fowler
Toronto - 2, Darren Oliver, Rajai Davis
Cleveland - 2, Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley
Kansas City - 2, Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson
Oakland - 2, Coco Crisp, Chris Young
Angels - 2, Jerome Williams, Howie Kendrick
Atlanta - 2, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton
Miami - 2, Juan Pierre, Giancarlo Stanton
Pittsburgh - 2, Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen
Cincinnati - 2, Brandon Phillips, Derrick Robinson
Milwaukee - 2, Rickie Weeks, Khris Davis
Dodgers - 2, Jerry Hairston Jr., Carl Crawford
San Diego - 2, Tyson Ross, Will Venable
Tampa Bay - 3, David Price, James Loney, Desmond Jennings
Yankees - 3, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Vernon Wells
Detroit - 3, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter, Austin Jackson
Houston - 3, Wesley Wright, Chris Carter, Justin Maxwell
Washington - 3, Ian Desmond, Scott Hairston, Denard Span
Philadelphia - 3, Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry Jr., Delmon Young
Mets - 3, LaTroy Hawkins, Marlon Byrd, Eric Young Jr.

*Data was compiled from current 25-man rosters as of July 29. Individuals currently on DL were not included.

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