First Rule: Know Your Baseball History Print E-mail
Written by Fred Mitchell   
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
The storied history of 500 Home Run Club sluggers goes back almost a century, and yet many modern day players act as if they invented the game.

 

 

Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth, the top three all-time home run hitters, encompass three different eras of major league baseball.  Of course, black ballplayers and other minorities were not allowed to play in the big leagues until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Former big league slugger Andre Dawson feels today's player need to be aware of the history of the game, particularly black players.

Dawson, who hit 438 homers for the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins, says he thinks about the sacrifices made by pioneering black ballplayers, including Ernie Banks and Billy Williams with the Cubs.

“When I talk to (today's young) black ballplayers, I just try to make them aware of the fact you are a huge minority in the game. Just try to do the things that are necessary to maintain the consistency and competitiveness from year to year. Because if you don’t have the mindset or the right attitude about what it is you’re doing, and what it is you have to do, then your career is going to be short-lived," he said.

“Knowing the history of the game is important. Before you even sign a professional contract…if you have that kind of ability and talent…you should know the history of the course of the black ballplayers. That is just basic history 101, knowing what it took for you to get that chance.”

 





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