CLEVELAND – Of all the significance tied to the Cubs being in the World Series for the first time since 1945, Dexter Fowler might feel the weight of that moment more than anyone else on the team.
When he steps to the plate Tuesday night for the first at-bat of Game 1, he will become the first black player in history to play for the Cubs in a World Series.
“It’s awesome to be the pioneer, the first one,” said the Cubs’ leadoff man. “It all wouldn’t be possible without Jackie.”
Jackie Robinson’s barrier-breaking debut for the Dodgers didn’t come until April 15, 1947. The Cubs played 53 games in 10 World Series appearances before integration; none since.
The Cubs could have three African-Americans in the starting lineup Tuesday, including Jason Heyward and the biracial Addison Russell.
“It’s going to be great just being here in the World Series, but to add that aspect of it definitely makes it that much better,” said Fowler, who was made aware of his unique place in franchise history by scrolling through Twitter in the aftermath of Saturday’s pennant-clinching win over the Dodgers.
“You look at that and you’re like, `Wow,’ “ he said. “That’s when it really sinks in, and it’s like, `You are the first African-American to play in a World Series as a Cub.’
“It’s crazy to even think about that,” he added. “My parents weren’t even alive back then. It’s a lifetime.”