Jackie, Jeff and the NFL Draft…

April 17, 2007 | WNST Interns

I watched last night’s ESPN game between the Padres and Dodgers and, amidst all the talk about Jackie Robinson, a quick graphic flashed on the screen which mentioned that five African-American players came up in 1947.   I never knew that and, frankly, I was a little surprised that it’s never discussed.  So this morning I tried to find out who the other four were.  First, of course, was Robinson.  But, in July, Larry Doby made it to the Cleveland Indians.  He became the first African-American player in the American League.  A bit later came Hank Thompson with the St. Louis Browns and, in mid August, Don Bankhead, also with the Dodgers, took the mound as the first African-American pitcher. 


My question is- why aren’t these guys ever talked about?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Of course Jackie Robinson had to deal with the racism and the taunting and all the rest but I’d bet it probably wasn’t a cake walk for these other guys either.  I think major league baseball needs to do more to honor the other four players who entered the league the same year as Robinson.  Why isn’t there a Larry Doby Day? Or a Bankhead Day?  I mean I can’t even find any source that mentions all five guys together.  I’ve been online all day and can’t seem to find out the name of the fifth player.   Does anyone out there know?  Can you tell me?  Send me an email to fightingungers@wnst.net and please let me know who the guy was. Oh, and by the way, if you’re reading this, I’ll give you a little hint about something.  Might be giving away tickets to an event this Saturday and one of the questions might be- who’s the first African-American to pitch in the Major Leagues?  Get it… hint… hint….


I figured out what I need to do to start appreciating Nascar racing.  Just watch the last twenty laps.   Yesterday Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton had a battle down in Texas that was exciting as hell.  Lap after lap they fought for the lead until Burton, who had the faster car, was able to grab the inside position and pull ahead for the win.  I loved it! 


The reason Andrew and I haven’t talked too much NFL draft yet is because a lot of the talk is just that… talk.  The hard work that guys like Rob Long, Drew and Bob Haynie do to bring you insightful draft info is great and the expert guests are extremely well versed but, let’s face it, there’s a lot of misreads and bad decisions come draft day.  Look at Tom Brady (6th round), Joe Montana (3rd round), Terrell Davis (6th round), Deacon Jones (14th round) and all the other countless examples of draft mistakes.  How about Todd Blackledge and Ken O’Brien being drafted before Dan Marino?  Or the Lawrence Phillips travesty?  I assume that when the draft comes Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens will do what they’ve been doing since taking Jonathan Ogden in ’96 and that is to make the right decisions.  I do think I’ll check out Nestor at Putty Hill Station though and find out who those third and fourth round diamonds might be- but I’m not wearing a jersey.

Quick Thought for the Day


Who would you rather see thrown off a boat and drowned? Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell or Ann Coulter? Please email your vote to fightingungers@wnst.net along with any comments or questions you have.