By Jeff Washington
Former MLBbro Bryant Nelson sees Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker and envisions being in the same spot in the future. Nelson, who was drafted by the Astros in 1992, wants to be a Major League manager, too. That’s why he has started his journey to become a coach in The Show.
Just Two Black Full-Time MLB Managers
Baker and Dave Roberts from the Los Angeles Dodgers are the only two current Black managers in the game. It’s a fair question when some ask what steps need to be taken to have more diversity in the dugout and in the front office.
MLB Diversity Scout and Coaching Development Program
Last week, Nelson completed the second year of the MLB Diversity Scout and Coaching Development Program. “My dream has always been to be a manager,” Bryant said. “I was drafted as a pitcher. I played six different positions. “I switch-hit. There isn’t much within the game I haven’t done. I know I could help a lot of guys.”
Nelson was in professional baseball for 23 years, starting in the Astros’ minor league system. He would have stints with three other minor league clubs before making his Major League debut in 2002 with the Boston Red Sox.
Nelson never got the chance to have a breakout kind of season in order to stick long term. He batted .265 in 25 games with the BoSox. That was his career in the Bigs. But he kept playing all over the world – with stops in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan and Italy.
Make no mistake about it, however, Nelson did damage in the minors at home. Before hanging up his cleats, Nelson became the all-time hits leader in the Atlantic League. Thought his career, Nelson displayed elite contact skills. He batted .284 during 11 seasons in the minors and never struck out more than 52 times in any season.
Bryant, 48, is currently seeking to transition into professional coaching, combining the skills he developed over his playing career with the knowledge he obtained at the MLB coaching program.
“The program really taught me a lot about terminology being used in the game today, better ways to evaluate talent and maturing as both a coach and scout,” Nelson said. “I gained a deeper respect for all the hard work that goes into scouting. “It was an eye-opening experience with Tyrone Brooks and Bo Porter spearheading it. It’s a very good program.”
Dusty Speaks On World Series Blackout
Baker has been outspoken about the current state of the game when it comes to Black players. This World Series is the first not to have a single Black player since 1950. The member of the exclusive 2,000-win club flat out said “he’s ashamed of the game.” It’s a far cry from when he played in the 70s, when Black players were littered all over MLB rosters.
Dusty has led a record five teams to 12 postseason berths, three World Series appearances, and has won more games than all but eight managers in history.
“I don’t think that’s something that baseball should be really proud of. It looks bad,” Baker lamented.
Nelson thinks Black representation is important to the sport. “We’re stuck on about 6-8 percent of Black players at each level,” Nelson said. “And I don’t think the number will I prove until more Black coaches are hired to develop and push these players. It’s one of my missions.”
Time For Some MLBbro Managerial Hires For Next Season | These Three Candidates Are Overdue For A Gig
Changing The Culture
Nelson is very optimistic about potential future opportunities gained from his experience. “This program has done a good job preparing us for the opportunity, now it’s just about putting the time and work in and getting the opportunity to show our worth within the game.”
And perhaps, be the next Baker.