Home > baseball, race, Sports > MLB Teams Select Surviving Negro Leaguers at 2008 Draft

MLB Teams Select Surviving Negro Leaguers at 2008 Draft

May 22, 2008

Hat tip to Doc Manhattan for cluing me in to this announcement from the MLB by way of AOL Sports Blogs:

As part of its 2008 First-Year Player Draft next month, Major League Baseball will hold a ceremonial selection of players from the Negro Leagues. Participation in the draft is voluntary, but most of the 30 clubs are expected to take part as baseball continues its efforts to keep alive the history of the Negro Leagues.

The ceremonial event will be streamed live by BaseballChannel.TV at 1 p.m. ET, directly preceding the start of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft at 2 p.m. ET. Both events will take place at The Milk House at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. Fans are encouraged to attend and admission is free, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Each team will compensate the player it selects with a stipend, Solomon said. Major League Baseball will pick up the travel expenses for each player (and a companion) to the Draft headquarters in Orlando.

OHHkay. Issues:

Satchel Paige– it’s nice to honor the Negro Leaguers, but dang, this is a publicity stunt. Why not just give them a stipend from MLB itself? Is this stipend for the rest of their lives?

– a ceremonial selection? why allocate these players, well past their time and not in line for contracts, to teams? So the team has a show pony for an African American history day? I guess there is little backbreaking labor, but still… doesn’t this whole plan sound silly? Or kind of like a slave auction? MLB gets the players and brings them to market… the teams give them a little money… I kid. Somewhat. No, not that much. Any player draft has a level of servitude, but the conditions are light years better.

– what is BaseballChannel.tv? That’s not on cable it’s… online. So this is a poor publicity stunt to boot.

I wouldn’t even have gone through all of this; I would have MLB set up a fund and hook these guys up with a stipend. And then I’d look to send some of the remaining (and able-bodied and able-minded) folks into the broadcast booth during local weekend games and a few national games to chat for a few innings about their experience. I would also have bobblehead days (or some other giveaway) conceived around the play of some the great African-American ballplayers – such as Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson and Larry Doby. Educate the kids, MLB!

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  1. June 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    My company does video news stories on great people with awesome attitudes — they don’t get much better than some of the Negro League players who broke barriers in baseball!

    You can see a video we did at MLB’s recent symbolic draft of Negro League players, which includes Millito Navarro, Peanut Johnson, Charley Pride and Bill Blair as well as Ken Griffey and Dave Winfield.

    I hope you enjoy it!


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