Dodgers hail Negro Leagues with forum

At centennial, Roberts, Hairston, others honor history, look to future

August 16th, 2020

The Dodgers, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) and the Inglewood Baseball Fund on Friday hosted a virtual forum in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues featuring Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and former Dodger and current broadcaster Jerry Hairston Jr., whose grandfather played in the Negro Leagues.

Roberts shared his thoughts on Negro Leagues players, saying, “These guys made a big sacrifice when you talk about what the Negro Leagues did to inspire Major League Baseball, raise the bar for Major League Baseball players and give African American players an opportunity to pave the way for myself. We wouldn’t be where we are in our careers without them.”

Hairston Jr., whose grandfather Sam Hairston played in the Negro Leagues with the Birmingham Black Barons and Indianapolis Clowns before finishing his career with the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball, said, “My grandfather was a better player than I was, but he didn’t have the opportunity that I had. That’s why I played as hard as I did, because my grandfather and others sacrificed so much for us. It’s just so great that these men are getting recognition during this panel and throughout this celebration.”

The virtual program was livestreamed on Facebook and the webinar had over 500 participants from the Inglewood Baseball Fund, Dodgers Community partner organizations, LADF grantee organizations, Dodgers RBI, and Dodgers Dreamfields partners.

Footage of the forum can be downloaded here.

“Celebrations like this are so important to shine a light on trailblazers in our sport that helped open doors for opportunities for people of color, not just in baseball but in society at large,” said Naomi Rodriguez, Dodgers vice president, external affairs & community relations. “The impact of the Negro Leagues continues to be felt to this day in terms of entertainment and diversity in our game, and we’re proud to help commemorate this milestone.”

“As we reflect on what brought us here today, we must acknowledge the past. And while we have made tremendous strides in access to baseball, this celebration of 100 years of the Negro Leagues reminds us that there is still work ahead,” said Nichol Whiteman, LADF CEO. “Together, we must promote the game in underrepresented communities where youth, particularly Black youth, can see themselves in the faces of players on a global stage.”

Other notes
was behind the rest of the starting rotation throughout Summer Camp, and he still is after Saturday night’s 4 2/3-inning start. Buehler’s ERA is 5.21, and he’s allowing home runs (2.4 per nine innings) and walks (4.3) at a much higher rate than last year, with a lower rate for strikeouts (8.1).

But Roberts offered a positive review of Buehler’s no-decision against the Angels.

“He’s really close,” said Roberts. “There were some calls that could have gone either way, but the command was good, the stuff was good. I really think that next one he’s going to hit his stride.”

Buehler, who also started slowly last year, called his outing “a death-by-5,000-cuts kind of game.”

“I’m just pretty lucky we have the team we do and I haven’t sunk the ship yet,” he joked. “There’s a time to trust the process and a time to hunt results, and I think I need to make that flip.”

is the probable starter Tuesday night against Seattle. Gonsolin was optioned after his first fill-in start, but after his second fill-in start, he’s in the rotation -- at least, during this stretch of 17 games in 17 days, as the Dodgers go to a six-man rotation.