Rob Parker gives Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford major love this week as the MLBbro continues to dismiss any doubts about his ability to rake.
J.P. Crawford’s youthful exuberance has been infectious within the confines of the Seattle Mariners clubhouse and the young shortstop’s energy, bat and glove has been a driving force in helping the former cellar dwellers reach the 10-win plateau Sunday.
This is a resilient Seattle team to watch as they have piled on multiple comeback efforts this season enroute to becoming the second team in the American League to reach double-digit dubs.
That includes Sunday’s series-clinching win against division-rival Houston Astros, highlighted by Crawford scoring from first on a triple to take the lead and firing up Mariners fans while crossing the plate.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 18, 2021
There hasn’t been this much youthful exuberance, Black excellence and optimism since Ken Griffey Jr. was flicking moonshots and scaling stadium walls in a single bound, back in the nasty 90s.
Last Sunday, Crawford finally got his season batting average over the Mendoza Line. He is now hitting .275 with 7 runs 14 hits and 3 RBIs, including a huge go-ahead two-run double en route to his Mariners sweeping a doubleheader against Baltimore.
It’s great to see Crawford finally start to exhibit some consistency at the plate as he has always been a stopper on the defensive side. The power’s not there yet, but he’s a work in progress on the serious upswing.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 15, 2021
Last season, the 26-year-old shortstop out of Lakewood, California became just the 17th black infielder in major league history to win a Gold Glove, doing so in just his fourth season.
Crawford was drafted 16th overall in the 2013 draft out of high school by the Philadelphia Phillies. It was clear at an early age that he was a wizard with the web. He started on varsity as a freshman and broke school records for hits, runs, steals and walks. He was traded to Seattle in 2019.
Crawford is just the second black shortstop to win a Gold Glove in the American League, joining five-time winner Derek Jeter who had three straight from 2004-2006. Jimmy Rollins, Ozzie Smith, Ernie Banks and Maury Wills each won the award in the National League.
In total, only 17 black infielders have won Gold Gloves in their careers, seven since 1996: Dee Strange Gordon, Orlando Hudson, J-Roll, Derrick Lee, Brandon Phillips, Derek Jeter and the newly added J.P. Crawford.
Crawford, whose cousin is former Tampa Bay Rays and Houston native Carl Crawford, finished last season with a career-high .986 fielding percentage on 221 chances. He was tied for the league lead with seven defensive runs saved.
Although you may have to stay up late to watch the west coast Mariners, they are one of the more diverse and youth-infused squads in the entire league. Crawford is not only making a name for himself on the field, but he’s all in on improving race relations in the country and showing his support for all social justice initiatives.
— ThePlayersAlliance (@Player_Alliance) April 18, 2021
Unlike the other 29 teams in the league, African-Americans are truly the heart and soul of this Mariners team that is unique in many ways, as far as today’s baseball is concerned.
Seattle is one of only two teams with multiple black starters in their rotation (Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield).
With 2020 American League Rookie of the Year winner Kyle Lewis beginning his season on the injured list, fans got the pleasure of seeing top prospect Taylor Trammell in the Bigs.
The team also has newly acquired reliever Keynan Middleton, who may have the best dreadlocks in the sport.
one man hype squad Keynan Middleton pic.twitter.com/WB4rYv5p8B
— Lydia Cruz (@TheLydiaCruz) April 18, 2021
Crawford will look to join a short list of legendary shortstops who have won multiple Gold Gloves (Derek Jeter, Ozzie Smith, Jimmy Rollins and Maury Wills).
As for his team, the American League West is wide open and after only being a few games out of a playoff spot last season, the Mariners are looking to take that next leap into the upper echelon of MLB clubs.
With young, athletic and gifted leaders like Crawford on the job, it’s a definite possibility.
In honor of Jackie Robinson Day on April 15th, the newly launched LEOVICI, is hooking up with Seattle Mariners Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford to drop a limited edition LEOVICI x JP Crawford “42” hoodie.
The garment features a black and white portrait of Jackie Robinson on a bone-colored hoodie. All proceeds will be donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
“As a company that prides itself on innovation, excellence, and its promise to disrupt “the way things are”, Robinson is not just one of our inspirations, but also one of our greatest heroes. His performance on the field speaks for itself,” says Brent Wheatley, founder of LEOVICI, a luxury menswear athletic brand manufacturer.
Wheatley is a former professional baseball player who used his family’s career path as inspiration. Brent’s father, Bob was a co-owner of the golf apparel & lifestyle brand, TravisMathew, and Brent’s grandfather William was an original board member at Nike and was actively involved during its formative years.
Reflecting on Jackie Robinson and his legacy has inspired the brand to partner with the 26-tear-old Crawford. The rising star represents the next generation of legends in the making, as well as the continuation of the past 74 years of Black baseball excellence, dating back to 1947 when Robinson integrated the game, opening up the flood gates for Black talent that would go on to dominant baseball’s record books.
While also pushing the limits of what’s possible on a baseball diamond.
Crawford has also been impacted on and off the field by the life and actions of Robinson. When asked about his impact, Crawford, a descendant of interracial parents started off by stating, “without him I probably wouldn’t have been born, he broke barriers that were larger than baseball. That man changed the course of history… BY HIMSELF! He took on what so many people can’t even bear to take on a piece of.”
That “42” hoodie is proper drip, from everything it represents to the face on the front to the company and the young Black Knight associated with the tribute wears.