Football or baseball option?
By Don Valentine
What if a young multi-sport star, chose baseball instead of the risky choice of football? That star athlete that wants to be a “pro” could be just what they call “Journey Man” and make a comfortable multi-million dollar salary. This is without risking catastrophic brain damage to make the same or less money. The average N.F.L. player lasts about four years vs. six years for a marginal baseball player.
Moreover, the paucity of Black baseball players assists the gifted young athlete to land a major league job. Bob Nightingale of the U.S.A. Today, reported that the Black population in baseball has fallen to a stark 8 percent. Shockingly, of the 449 pitchers on major league opening-day roster there were 14 Blacks. That means 3 percent of the pitchers in the majors look like me. To their credit the Miami Marlins made the rare investment of converting a position player, Edwin Jackson into a pitcher. Tacitly spoken, Black catchers and pitchers were historically thought to be not mentally capable of those positions.
Negro League Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick, said in the Bob Nightingale article, “Historically, pitchers and catchers did not transition from the Negro leagues. There were great arms in the Negro leagues and we had great catchers from Josh Gibson to Roy Campanella, but that was considered a cerebral position. And the consensus was that these men weren’t smart enough to play in the major leagues.”
The evidence of a two-term Black President, Black Supreme Court Justices, successful Black quarterbacks all propound that this was a spurious concept. Major League Baseball knows it has a diversity issue. This leaves a great opportunity for Blacks to excel. Gifted sport stars don’t have to risk mental injury if they pick up a glove. After all, who does not want to be part of “The American Pastime”?