As part of my almost-annual year end reading to reach my book goal, I just finished this short but informative book on discrimination issues facing marginalized baseball players. Some very good and eye-opening information in this one.
Title: “You’re Not Welcome Here: Exclusionary Practices in the Game of Baseball” by Daniel Pasternack
Rating: 4 of 5 stars (very good)
Review: While baseball is a sport that likes to keep its history alive through its Hall of Fame and other means, it also has some parts of that history that are shameful. While the exclusion of Black players before Jackie Robinson is well known, this book by Daniel Pasternak takes a deeper look at practices that have hampered progress in having more Black players participate in all levels of the game.
It should be noted that aside from his chapter on Moses Fleetwood Walker, a Black player from the 1880’s in the highest level of professional, Pasternack’s subjects and discussions take place after the integration that was started by Robinson. From the tales about Wilmer Aaron to those of Vida Blue, Pasternak does an admirable job of telling how discrimination hurt Black ball players both on and off the diamond.
The best parts of the book, however, come when Pasternack talks about the high school teams he has coached in San Diego and the many problems Black players face if there isn’t blatant racism and the players have good skills. His take on the current state of youth and Little League baseball and the prohibitively expensive travel leagues is something that needs to be told and is truly the barrier because of the costs involved.
He also touches on the lack of acceptance for female and gay players over the years. He does note the progress for the former and lack of it for the latter. While not covered as extensively as the issues facing Black players, it is nice to see that he recognizes the unique barrier those people have in the game as well. While the book doesn’t spell out any long range solutions (and explains why) this is still good material for those who are concerned about these issues and the underlying factors.
I received a review copy of the book for free and am freely expressing my thoughts on the book.