Heyward Reflects on Rare Position
By Christina Grieco, Braves Producer
April 15, 2010
Atlanta– 2010 has been a season of firsts for Atlanta Braves right-fielder Jason Heyward. April 5th was his first opening day in the major leagues. He hit his first major league home run in his first at bat. And this season will also be Heyward’s first as the only African-American player on his team, an alarming trend throughout Major League Baseball.
As Jackie Robinson Day approaches on April 15th, players, fans, and coaches around the league will stop and remember Robinson’s impact on civil rights. It will also call attention to the lack of African-Americans that grace the field today.
But the Atlanta Braves are not alone. At least six other teams also only have one African American player on their active roster, and at least three do not have any. And while Heyward cannot speak for those players, he does say that he has noticed the lack of African Americans in the majors. But rather than seeing this fact as a negative, he has attributed it to the many other opportunities that are now available to African American athletes; opportunities that did not exist in the days of Jackie Robinson.