Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Minority Managers

As we look at the NBA and the NFL we can clearly see the growing percentage of minority coaches and people in decision making jobs. However,at the start of 2007 the same cannot be said about Major League Baseball.At the start of this next baseball season there will be only 4 minority managers among all 30 major league teams and only two General Managers. In advance; if I missed somebody, it is my fault, excuse me.

Ozzie Guillen manager of the Chicago White Sox, born in Venezuela, Freddi Gonzalez new manager of the Florida Marlins, born in Cuba,African-Americans Ron Washington,new field manager of the Texas Rangers and Willie Randolph of the New York Mets.
There are two General Managers that qualify as minorities. African-American Williams of the Chicago White Sox and Dominican born Omar Minaya of the New York Mets.

Felipe Alou and Dusty Baker are no longer managing, although Alou,who managed the Giants four seasons was recently named asistant to the General Manager Brian Sabean.

But still, in comparison to the NBA or even the NFL the percentage of minorities in top jobs for baseball is not even close. What is the problem ?
There is none. There are plenty of Hispanics and African-American candidates and all they want is the opportunity of having an interview. For example Luis Sojo who was a very good player from many years and managed in his country Venezuela,is looking for that opportunity, so is Angels first-base coach Alfredo Griffin and Jose Oquendo in St Louis and many many more Hispanics and Afro-Americans.

In the case of African-American talent, the pool in Major League Baseball has not increased. If anything during the past few decades it has decreased in larger numbers than any other race. However, Hispanics are growing at a greater pace, but the progress for field managers and General Managers is coming very slowly.

Many believe the first professional team to hire a minority where the Boston Celtics of the NBA in 1966. University of San Francisco and Boston Celtics player Bill Russell became the first black coach in professional sports. Because it is Russell (who by the way won 2 NBA titles in the 3 seasons he coached the Celtics)and Russell is a very famous athlete, many forget that back in 1938 Cuban-born catcher Mike Gonzalez was interim manager of the St Louis Cardinals. Gonzalez was manager of the Cardinals 9 years prior to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.Mike Gonzalez,like many Cubans that played prior to 1947 was of very light skin. Here, because Bill Russell was a very well known athlete and Mike Gonzalez was the perennial "Good field-no hit" type of player little known outside of Havana or St Louis today many historians have Bill Russell as the first ever minority to coach/manage a professional franchise in the United States. However, that is incorrect,Mike Gonzalez was the first ever minority to be at the helm directing a pro team in the US.

I remember when I first came into the United States.back in 1961 how many aplications for jobs had just a few races,Caucasian,Black,Hispanic,the ones that I mostly remember. However,today this country has reached the 300 million population plateau and have become as diverse as ever. Immigration has been good for the United States in the past 150 years or so. The problems we confront today as far as immigration are much different that what I saw back in 1961 and that is something that we have to deal with as a society. Baseball is very similar to the general population. Asian players also have increased a great deal since the San Francisco Giants hired the first ever Asian player. Japanese pitcher Massanori Murakami with the San Francisco Giants in 1964 was the first Asian player signed to a major league contract.

I hope in the years to come many more minorities that are qualified for the jobs of Manager and General Manager get the opportunities they deserve in baseball. As long as they qualify they should get the chance,no matter their ethnic background. This also should apply to front office baseball jobs. It takes time for some people to come to the reality that this is not Kansas anymore and it is not 1951. But last I looked it was still the United States of America, land of opportunity.


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