The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Daryl Bell, shortly after the baseball season, listed 12 Black managerial candidates. Six possess big-league experience with at least one MLB club: Dusty Baker, Davey Lopes, Lloyd McClendon, Jerry Manuel, Willie Randolph and Ron Washington.
These six are joined by Gary Jones, Pat Listach, Terry Pendleton, DeMarlo Hale, Barry Larkin and Bo Porter.
At season’s end, there were eight MLB manager openings, and seven of those are now filled. With one remaining (Pittsburgh), the likelihood of one of the 12 Black candidates—let’s call them ‘the passed over’—being hired isn’t very good.
We should add James Rowson to this list. He’s the new Miami Marlins bench coach and offensive coordinator after three seasons as Minnesota Twins hitting coach. If he were White, Rowson most likely would have received some credit after the Twins’ record-setting season: 20 batting records were either set or broken, including six MLB marks and a new major-league team home run record (307).
“As a coach, you believe in your players,” Rowson told the MSR in October. “It was cool to watch all these guys start their [hitting] process in spring training and carry it throughout the season.”
Again, if he were White, Rowson would have been prominently promoted by the pseudo-search committee, better known as mainstream media, for MLB skipper jobs. Instead, he’s on the Black passed-over list that gets White-washed out of MLB skipper jobs.
“I’m just blessed to be around this group of guys,” Rowson said. “It’s been awesome.”
Baseball Hall of Fame candidates
Ten persons are on this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame ballot through the Modern Baseball Era Committee. This group will vote in December on individuals who contributed to baseball from 1970-87 and no longer are eligible for HOF consideration through the writers’ election process.
Lou Whitaker and Dave Parker are the only Blacks on the 10-person HOF panel’s ballot. To be selected, they must get 12 of 16 votes.
Whitaker played all 19 seasons with the Detroit Tigers (1977-95). He was the 1978 AL Rookie of the Year, a five-time All-Star, and won three Gold Gloves at second base. He knocked in 1,084 runs and had 2,369 hits.
He also played on the 1984 Detroit World Series champions with Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, both of whom are in the HOF, elected in 2017 through the Modern Baseball Era Committee.
Parker (1973-91) was a key member of Pittsburgh’s (1978) and Oakland’s (1989) World Series championship teams. He won two NL batting titles and was 1978 MVP, a seven-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove winner, and led the NL in RBIs in 1985. Parker hit 339 home runs, 2,712 hits, and 1,493 RBI.
Gardenhire says no to robot umpires
Perhaps the most significant baseball rule change that will take place in 2020 is that all pitchers will be required to pitch to a three-batter minimum or through the end of a half-inning, with exceptions for injuries or illness.
Detroit Manager Ron Gardenhire told the MSR during last season, “Baseball is making a lot of changes. I think time will tell if they will stick or not.”
But he quickly balked on a proposal for robots to call balls and strikes. “I think this is a people’s game,” Gardenhire stressed. He predicted that “if I can’t go out and argue with an umpire,” he won’t be around the game too much longer. “I won’t be watching it, either.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.