Minnesota Twins Orlando Hudson Thinks Racism Why Jermaine Dye Doesn’t Have Job
Minnesota Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson hints at that that some African-American Major League Baseball players are getting the blackballed treatment not for declining skills but because of their skin color.
“You see guys like Jermaine Dye without a job. Guy with [27 home runs and 81 RBIs] and can’t get a job. Pretty much sums it up right there, no? You’ve got some guys who miss a year who can come back and get $5, $6 million, and a guy like Jermaine Dye can’t get a job. A guy like Gary Sheffield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can’t get a job. We both know what it is. You’ll get it right. You’ll figure it out. I’m not gonna say it because then I’ll be in [trouble].”
Between the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program and Urban Youth Academies, baseball has tried to resolve that gap between the sport and African-Americans. Compared to football and the stranglehold of basketball, baseball finishes a distant third. While the tremendous influx of upcoming African-American talent in the major leagues in recent years from Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard, Tampa Bay Rays Carl Crawford to Arizona Diamondbacks Justin Upton and Atlanta Braves Jason Heyward is a positive sign, it doesn’t eliminate the feeling that others have been mistreated.
While some will accuse Hudson of race baiting and paranoia, the reality is quite the opposite, he is taking public a concern that promotes discussion and forces MLB to be honest with itself.
However I don’t think it’s as clean or easy to explain Dye’s unemployment as a racist thing as it is to explain the context of financial realities in baseball. Has racism been a problem in baseball’s history? Of course it has, it’s been a problem throughout American history. It still exists today but figure into the equation that the market for aging sluggers with little defensive value is minimal and with the the free-agent market in the last 5 years shifted drastically away from older players at high cost.
Consider the former World Series MVP’s phone did ring in the offseason with Dye and his agent, Bob Bry, turning down offers from the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, and last week rejected an offer from the Washington Nationals.
In comparison aging outfielders with similar skill like Milwaukee Brewers Jim Edmonds and Seattle Mariners Mike Sweeney have jobs but it also has to do with they were willing to take $650K and Dye is not.
MLB.com lists 25 unsigned free agents. Of those 25, two are African-Americans, Dye and Sheffield. Dye is still sitting at home for similar the reason that Jarrod Washburn is and that’s unrealistic salary demands.