MLBbro 2021 Season Rewind| Deion Sanders Talks Black Baseball & His MLB Career

MLBbro 2021 Season Rewind| Deion Sanders Talks Black Baseball & His MLB Career

MLBbro.com’s Mark Gray set off the baseball season with a quick conversation with Deion Sanders AKA Coach Prime, who was preparing for an historic season as head coach of the Jackson State Football Team. Jackson State went 11-1 and won the school’s first SWAC title since 2007. Sanders also led them to the Celebration Bowl for the first time in school history, where the Tigers will meet MEAC Champ South Carolina State on Dec. 18, 2021.
In his prime, Deion was one of the greatest two-way athletes in sports history, simultaneously starring for the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons at one point.  Mark Gray asked the NFL Hall of Famer some Black baseball questions.

 

 

Negro League Black Knights Get Long Overdue Call To The Hall of Fame | Buck O’Neil Finally Gets His Flowers

Negro League Black Knights Get Long Overdue Call To The Hall of Fame | Buck O’Neil Finally Gets His Flowers

Though it may have been too long in coming, Buck O’Neil finally got his call to the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

O’ Neil joined five other all-time greats who earned their place on the game’s all-time team. The other posthumous inductees  joining Buck — a great ambassador of the Negro Leagues — are Minnie Miñoso and Bud Fowler, a Black player who had a trailblazing career in the 19th century.

This class also includes MLB greats Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, and the great Tony Oliva in the 2022 Hall of Fame Class that will be inducted during ceremonies scheduled for July 24 in Cooperstown, New York.

Arguably the face of the Negro Leagues, having been featured prominently in Ken Burns documentary “Baseball”, O’Neil was among a group of six players who were a part of the class that includes two other players who were groomed in the Negro Leagues while they were racially locked out by the game’s color barrier.

John “Buck” O’Neil, played for the Memphis Red Sox and Kansas City Monarchs as a first baseman and manager in the Negro League from 1937 to 1948. In 1962.

He became the first Black coach and scout for the MLB’s Chicago Cubs for only one year.

Buck O’Neil was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on December 5 2021O’Neil had a brilliant playing career in the Negro Leagues from 1937 to 1955.

He played for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League in 1937 and also for the Kansas City Monarchs, who went on to win four consecutive Negro American League pennants while on that roster.

However, O’Neil made his greatest impact off the field in the decades that followed. His coaching career began as a player-manager for the Monarchs from 1948 to 1955. The Chicago Cubs ultimately hired him as a scout before promoting him to the full time coaching staff.

Miñoso, who died at 89 in 2015, played three years in the Negro Leagues before joining the Cleveland [Guardians] organization prior to the 1949 season. In 1951 he reached the Major Leagues and became a full-time player with the White Sox, and made an immediate impact.

Minoso was second in the 1951 rookie of the year voting and was a seven American League All-Star with the White Sox and won three Gold Gloves as an outfielder.

He is noted historically for becoming the first Afro-Latino to play in the Major Leagues in 1948 when he was signed by the Cleveland franchise.

MLB regards Fowler as a journeyman who played for several teams during his career, which took place before most modern stats were recorded.

Fowler began making his mark on the sport in the minor leagues 75 years before Jackie Robinson changed the complexion of baseball in 1947.  He is also acknowledged as the first Black professional player in 1878 before there were any organized Negro League teams.

Baker Swag Not Enough To Beat Braves, Astros on Blast To Bring Him Back

Baker Swag Not Enough To Beat Braves, Astros on Blast To Bring Him Back

There wasn’t enough toothpick swag or O.G. confidence to counter  the thunder of the Atlanta Braves. Dusty Baker pushed all the right buttons in game five to bring the 2021 World Series back to Houston needing two wins to potentially seal his place as hall of fame manager.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

It was a gamble to put Game 6 of the World Series on the back of a rookie who got bombed early on during the series.

After going all in at the poker table, Luis Garcia was given the start on three days rest and lost his control.

 The bullpen had spent 6.1 innings keeping them in the series in game five. Baker needed to get at least four innings from Garcia but instead he gave up three earned runs.

The formula for a game seven was compromised with no room for error and the chances of a repeat performance from Halloween were gone.

Houston’s chances to continue the Braves championship curse basically ended with a 446 foot three run homer from World Series MVP Jorge Soler that vanished behind the Crawford Boxes and over the train tracks in Minute Maid Park in the third inning.

An offensively challenged team that was already emotionally spent was done.

“We played through a lot this year, all kinds of adversity,” Baker said.  “We just kind of ran out of gas pitching wise.”

Even his infectious persona of confidence that filtered through his team was gone. Baker’s eyes that found tweaks in the lineup strained to look for answers that would put pressure on Braves starter Max Fried.

Shifting the toothpick to the other side of his mouth couldn’t muster another rally as the Astros bats went back to the freezer as the American League’s most productive offense went silent.

Houston’s pitching was behind the eight ball after Lance McCullers was lost prior to game one. Atlanta’s offense crushed Houston’s pitching throughout the series at a historic pace through the entire series.

The Braves hit 11 home runs while the Astros hit two. All things considered they were fortunate the series lasted six games. 

“We couldn’t keep them in the ballpark,” Baker said.  “If we walked somebody it would lead to crooked number innings.  Their pitching shut us down.”

Now the wheels start turning for the Astros as an organization. Baker has gone one step farther in each of his two seasons.There is clearly a love affair between Baker and his clubhouse.

With a new generation of players cleansing the stench from their previous world championship it remains to be seen whether the toothpick swag will be given the opportunity to finish the task of bringing a World Series title to Houston without the drama that came with the first one.

“I’ve still got some unfinished business,” he said. “I mean, I love these guys over here. I love the town of Houston. The fans are behind us.”

Baker’s O.G. Knowledge And Toothpick Swag Keep Astros Alive | His Bullpen Game Has Been Elite

Baker’s O.G. Knowledge And Toothpick Swag Keep Astros Alive | His Bullpen Game Has Been Elite

Once again that original MLBbro O.G. Dusty Baker stayed level through chaos and his Houston Astros came back to life after giving the Atlanta Braves a dose of reality in Game 5 of the 2021 World Series.

The Astros erased a 4-0 lead after a first inning grand slam brought them to within outs of their season ending, and came from behind to beat the Braves 9-5.

The Stros head back to H-Town with confidence that no lead is insurmountable. Houston still trails the series 3-2, but momentum seems to have returned to the Fabulous Baker Boys.

Atlanta looks like a fighter who spent a round of taking flurries to gather points but now must pick themselves up off the canvas to win one of their next two games in order to win the championship that was in their grasp for most of Sunday night.

Baker never seemed phased after it appeared the Astros grave had been prepared for burial when Adam Duval launched a first inning grand slam.

No team had ever come back from giving up a four-run shot in the first inning in history.

The first inning on Halloween was fright night in Atlanta but the O.G. ‘s toothpick swag never wavered. 

 “I always say, if it’s going to happen, let it happen early,” said Baker. “You don’t want it to happen in the middle of the game or toward the end of the game. The guys came through. That’s what counts.”

Down by four with the tenth man doing their controversial tomahawk chop in the stands, Baker’s deft use of his bullpen kept the game close until the lethal Houston bats woke from the offensive slumber.

Often maligned by pundits who contend he doesn’t manage a bullpen effectively, Baker used his roster masterfully to bring the series back to Minute Maid Park.

 Houston struggled with runners in scoring position through the first four games of the series so Baker juggled his lineup and turned what was supposed to be a celebration into the nightmare at Truist Park. 

Houston evened the game in the third inning on an RBI double by Carlos Correa (who was moved into the five hole) and a groundout by Yuli Gurriel, who was hitting eighth in the lineup. It was one of three hits for the future free agent.

The Astros have now scored 50 runs this postseason with two out which is second to the 2020 L.A. Dodgers who scored 59.

Now an even greater chess match begins heading into Game 6 because Baker doesn’t have any wiggle room for error. 

There are two must-win games left in the series which will test the O.G. ‘s acumen at mixing and matching his bullpen rotation while trying to keep the bats hot with runners in scoring position.