Black History Month In Focus: Three MLB Black Knights To Check Out

This is part of The Shadow League’s yearly Black History Month In Focus series celebrating Black excellence in sports and culture.

For the first time since Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. were dominating baseball, MLBs top players are African-American. Yankees brown bombers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge form one of the most formidable middle orders in the history of baseball.  Stanton blasted 59 freaking homers. With 52 home runs and an OPS+ of 170, Judge produced perhaps the greatest rookie season ever.

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Giancarlo Stanton says goodbye to Miami Marlins fans on Instagram, also calls out the organization in the process: “I’ve always tried to be as professional as possible during the unprofessional, circus times there!

Both have a chance to hit 55 to 60 homers and they are not only the two most feared sluggers in the league, they’re metrically two of the best defensive outfielders in the game as well. Over in Boston, Mookie Betts has blossomed into a supreme outfielder, perennial MVP candidate and one of the faces of MLB. 

The success of these Black Knights have shined a light on the greatness of African-American baseball players. Baseball had just 62 African-American players coming out of Spring Training in 2017,  so it’s necessary to highlight some other soul patrollers outside of the obvious studs that we should check out in 2018. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of the three best defensive center fielders in baseball. Hes a human highlight film for the Boston Red Sox who regularly robs cats of homers with his sick leaping and timing ability and he does a hell of a spiderman impersonation as well.  The 27 year old took a step back offensively in 2017 dropping to just 17 homers and a .245 batting average after blasting 26 dingers and hitting .267 in 2016, but that can be attributed to being limited to 133 games due to injuries. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. – Defensive Wizard

This video is about Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley suffered a right knee sprain in April that put him in a brace through May, then he sprained his left thumb in August. Bradley Jr. isn’t one to make excuses, but expect a bounce back season this year. 

Yall know Im never gonna say anything about that. Its just not who I am, Bradley told NBC Sports Boston before accepting the Defensive Player of the Year award at the 79th annual Boston baseball writers awards dinner last month. But as a player, you just have to deal. Youre injured. But I felt at the time that I could still help the team out. So I was in a brace. I think once I got it off, it actually was feeling pretty good.”

Toronto Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman is carrying the torch for black pitching excellence while David Price attempts to return from an injury that made his 2017 season a miserable one. Until Price can rebound, Stroman is the No. 1 African-American pitcher in the game not named CC Sabathia and not knocking on the door of retirement. 

Stroman has had electric stuff ever since he entered the league. Remaining healthy, elevating to Cy Young levels,  and raising his durability so that he can be that reliable ace for the Toronto Blue Jays is his mission this season. 

Marcus Stroman “These Days” Mix – 2016 HD

Highlights for Blue Jays Starter Marcus Stroman Song: These Days Remix -Mike Stud(Feat. Marcus Stroman) Thanks For Watching Subscribe All Clips Belong To Major League Baseball

The Long Island-born Stroman, who helped Team USC win its first WBC Championship last season, is entering his age-27 season after a stellar 2017 performance that saw him strike out 164 hitters, log a 149 ERA+, and finish with 6.0 WAR. His sinker-slider combination is a weapon that few MLB pitchers own. Is this the year he joins the Black Aces by winning 20 games and becoming the first African-American Cy Young winner since Price in 2012 and CC in 2007. 

The National League hasnt had an African-American Cy Young winner since Dwight Gooden in 1985. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates disloyally dumped former NL MVP and franchise star Andrew McCutchen. For the first time in his career, one of the most popular and beloved players in the history of the franchise is playing for another National League squad in 2018. 

Andrew McCutchen -Headed For Greatness Mix-Classic Man

Here is one of my favorite mixes i have done, nothing special just liked everything about it.thought it was cool how it came together and all fit. Hope you like it. Leave comments and feedback. I am trying to do some thinking of people to do mixes on all sports.I have thought of some good ones.

During the offseason, The Black Knight from Fort Meade, Florida – who spent the first nine years of his career transforming Pittsburgh from MLB’s Saigon and the losingest franchise in pro sports into potent World Series title contenders – was traded to the San Francisco Giants for right-hander Kyle Crick, minor league outfielder Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 in international signing bonus allocation. Pittsburgh also pays $2.5 million in scratch to cover part of McCutchen’s $14.75 million salary.

Now he’s “West Coast Cutch.” 

E 60 Life Of A Pirate

Uploaded by MLB HD on 2014-05-23.

It shouldnt come as a shock that the Pirates traded the face of their franchise and the player that captivated the city with his community work, solid character, leadership and grace. Ever since the Pirates missed their World Series window, which was from 2013-15, upper brass had been looking to unload salary, rid itself of high-priced aging players and start all over again. 

McCutchen will be looking to prove he is far from washed and will get to face his former team several times this season. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.