Black baseball history takes center stage in the Hall of Fame

Black baseball history takes center stage in the Hall of Fame

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After the reinstatement, Major League Baseball executives established an unwritten quota system that limits the number of Black players on rosters, Shieber said.

“This led to unbalanced trading,” he added. “It’s not just a one-on-one exchange. Like, ‘We have enough black player trades.’”

Toward the end of the exhibit, Shieber pointed out the locker once used by Willie Mays who Barry Bonds took over as a player for the San Francisco Giants.

One of Stewart’s fondest early memories was meeting Mays, his favorite player, when he was 5 years old. But Stewart might also look up to Gibson, Aaron, Frank Robinson and a host of other black stars.

Today, he said, kids probably emulate Betts. She struggled to name another current black star of American origin.

Below the surface, the numbers are improving. The league established several programs to encourage, identify and nurture young black players. A growing number of Black players have been among the top draft picks in recent years: 12 of the top 100 three years ago, 13 of the top 100 in 2022 and 10 of the top 50 in last year’s draft.

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