The first pitch of the 2011 World Series will be thrown tonight as the Texas Rangers take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington will attempt to make history by becoming just the second black American manager to win a World Series. Cito Gaston became the first when he led the Toronto Blue Jays to World Series victories in ’92 and ’93.
Although Gaston’s success should have inspired MLB general managers and owners to hire more black managers, the number of black managers in the MLB remains low.
In the 2011 season, Washington and Dusty Baker (Cincinnati Reds) were the only two managers in the Majors. Washington has turned the Texas Rangers into a perennial threat and Baker has led three teams to the playoffs.
The Atlanta Braves, which hosted the annual Civil Rights game in 2011, had an opportunity to hire former MLB MVP and hitting coach Terry Pendelton as their manager after Bobby Cox retired. Pendelton had been a staple in the Atlanta community and Braves organization for over 20 years. However, the Braves decided to hire Freddie Gonzalez.
Washington and the Texas Rangers should have an edge over the Cardinals in the World Series. But even if his team doesn’t win, his accomplishments are stellar enough for MLB owners to give more opportunities to black managers. –amir shaw