June 7, 2008
One of the great travesties of baseball is the fact that for so many years it remained segregated. It was not until Branch Rickey brought up Jackie Robinson that the color barrier was finally broken. In this day and age it seems impossible to imagine baseball without color boundaries. It’s even more difficult for some fans to imagine that there was a time when baseball actually included a league devoted to African American players. That league was the Negro League and prior to 1947 it included some of the greatest players to ever play the game. For the longest time; the dedication of the players from the Negro Leagues has been underappreciated. Hall of Famer Dave Winfield felt that the time had come to make amends for that. He approached Commissioner Bud Selig and suggested that a special draft be conducted prior to the beginning of the 2008 First Year Player draft whereby each franchise would call out the name of a living representative who played in the Negro Leagues. The commissioner eagerly agreed and this commemorative draft was held earlier this week.