Castillo: Dodgers’ absence of African American players underscores an ongoing MLB issue

From Jorge Castillo at the Los Angeles Times on November 28, 2019:

The stars at this year’s Dodgers alumni game spanned decades. Steve Garvey, Orel Hershiser, Davey Lopes, Fernando Valenzuela and Maury Wills were among the dozens of former players at Dodger Stadium on June 1 to celebrate the franchise’s deep history.

But it was impossible for Kenny Landreaux, a former Dodgers center fielder, and some of his peers to ignore a difference between the rosters for the nostalgic exhibition and the lineup the Dodgers fielded that night for their 59th game of the 2019 season: While the alumni game brimmed with African Americans, the Dodgers, the franchise that signed Jackie Robinson to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947 and remained the preferred destination for black American players for decades, did not have a single African American player on their roster.

“We were like, ‘Wow, man, it’s getting kind of scarce around here,’” Landreaux said.

That game was not an anomaly. For the first time since 1946, the season before Robinson debuted and altered the course of American history, an African American did not appear in a game for the Dodgers for an entire campaign. For Landreaux, it was startling and yet unsurprising.

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Originally published: December 3, 2019. Last Updated: December 3, 2019.