On Baseball and Civil Rights

This weekend Major League Baseball (MLB) will celebrate Civil Rights. Whether it be Saturday’s game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds or various events held beyond Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark over two days, the weekend is designed to celebrate racial equality.

The highlighted event is a luncheon to honor MLB Beacon Awards to Hank Aaron (Beacon of Life), Muhammad Ali (Beacon of Change), and Bill Cosby (Beacon of Hope). Whether national figures as President Clinton, famous Cincinnati athletes, local and national distinguished figures, or simply the people attending to honor and learn, events will look at both the journey taken to date and the journey ahead.

In light of electing a president who happens to be black, there are other events in the shadows this celebration. We have a prominent South Carolina conservative joking about a gorilla escaped from a zoo: “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors – probably harmless.” – And then delivering this lame apology, “I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest.”

We have racist comments from other notable individuals concerning a Supreme Court nominee – one being the same radio talk show host who promoted and aired Barack the Magic Negro, a song written by a conservative speaker and intentionally distributed by a prominent political leader. Not to mention numerous daily encounters that may or may not make the news.

Whether it be White on Black, Black on White, Christian on Muslim, Muslim on Jew, Catholic on Protestant, Indian or Pakistani, or countless others – whether it be obvious, subtle, in jest, or based on stereotypes and/or misconceptions, individual people need to take it upon themselves to look at their own behavior, as well as their responses when observing such behavior in others.

Let us hope that this weekend’s events in Cincinnati will remind everyone that we are all humans and all deserving the same respect and dignity. Since we humans essential invented the classification of people by race, it is also up to us to do its dismantling.

This is said of Bill Cosby.

He has challenged people to do better. He’s been a very courageous person and has not allowed his fame and his prominence to interfere with his ability to be candid when it comes to assessing conditions and calling on people to step up to the plate.
Retired U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Nathaniel Jones

Personally, I related these words to Tim Valentine – a fellow citizen and fellow blogger whom I regularly read to learn, thus invite others to read him. Personally, the Understanding Race exhibit that touched me earlier this year in this post. Personally, I’m trying to get better. Are you?


13 thoughts on “On Baseball and Civil Rights

  1. I had no idea about the celebration of Civil Rights by Major League Baseball, this is a great move by Selig and Co.

    “…will remind everyone that we are all humans and all deserving the same respect and dignity.” If all of humanity felt this way, this world would be a much better place. Ignorance and meaningless violence seem to be on the rise while we contiue to get reports of “our city is the safest it’s been in years.”

    Great job Major League Baseball, if only Sammy Sosa hadn’t stolen your thunder.


    • Rad,
      Being in Cincinnati, I have an advantage of hearing about the events. Heck, I remember when it was announced as Frank Robinson was part of it.

      Great point about the Sosa news stealing the thunder. Unfortunately, many fans will focus on that news instead of other.

      Thanks for the comment.


    You know I was going to comment about the SC incident, but decided not to. I just want to help people understand each other better. They comment only highlights the amount of work that still needs to be done in terms of getting people to consider others.

    I was actually introduced to my own history by a former outfielder from the Negro League many, many, many years ago by a man named Ralph Mc Elrath. I don’t remember what team he played for, because I was only 7 years old when I got to spend the week at his home. He was the Brother-in-law to a church member and they knew that I was very interested in history, even at that young age. (That’s why I’m crazy now)

    Baseball had a major roll in the Civil Rights Movement, but I won’t give a lesson today on that. You’ve don’t an excellent job of touching on it in this post. It’s good that MLB is doing this, because so many people has no clue about the roll baseball played. I may not have been able to talk to you as freely, never alone the things I write about as openly if it wasn’t for the sacrifices made beginning with the acceptance of Hank Aaron into the MLB from the Negro Leagues. It was a stepping stone.

    This is one of my subjects, so it’s difficult for me not speak passionately about it or in brief. So I will simply say excellent post. But that’s just the daily norm for you. You got to start submitting something terrible every once in awhile so I can catch up. 🙂


    • Tim,
      As documented by Ken Burns, baseball has a long history to society – plus what MLB is doing this weekend in Cincinnati. A big wow to knowing and learning from someone who played in the Negro Leagues.

      Thanks for the kind words and support. hopefully this post encourages someone to read your material.


  3. Hello Frank!

    I am not much into Baseball and MLB but I quite enjoy softball in our school. I wish someday I could watch a baseball game! There is no Baseball Leagues here in the Philippines btw. Hope there could be one!

    See you on the go! I will be heading to school, I just took a glimpse on my friend’s blog posts (including you.)

    Can I request something? If ever you could change my link on your list, please replace it something like this:

    Kebism – Movies, Music and Tech: All in One

    Thank you Frank! Have a great day ahead!


    • Kebby,
      One interesting aspect about baseball here is it’s tie to society and societal issues. The parallels throughout it’s long history are amazing.

      For instance in terms of the Civil Rights movement, baseball racially integrated before much of society.

      Thanks for visiting … gotcha on the link.


      • Frank, baseball is really great. And I am learning so much from you and also from Rad. Ahaha, Wish I could bat for some time with you guys!

        By the way, can you make it Kebism – Movies, Music and Tech: All in One ?



        • Kebby,
          Baseball is known as the national past-time for its long-standing fixture in our society. It’s had numerous problems through the years, but it always has.

          Keep in mind that I believe it’s one of the few games with the defense initially controlling the ball (cricket too, I think) … plus not limited to a time clock.

          Thanks for visiting.


  4. I wasn’t aware of this coming this weekend either. Still, I have to agree with Rad about the Sosa news.

    And you also made a good point about baseball being one of the first to integrate. Nonetheless, this is a positive move for the game which at least takes the time for one weekend to recognize equality.

    All races and ethic groups do deserve the same respect and dignity, and it’s unfortunate that human hate(as we both discussed previously) continues to go around as much as does do to the ignorant thinking of some. We are all accountable for our own behavior and way of thinking.

    Excellent and thoughtful post as always buddy!


    • David,
      Welcome back as I know you’ve been busy the past few weeks.

      Doesn’t seem the Civil Right celebration is getting much publicity, but maybe it will on game day. Here, and understandably, something in the paper every day this week. Today there’s a story on Hank Aaron. I invite you and others to visit http://www.cincinnati.com for the articles.

      Thanks for visiting!


  5. Pingback: On Sports Shorts 062509 « A Frank Angle

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