As the White Sox’ only African American player, Tim Anderson felt honored to step on the field Sunday.
“The numbers are going down,” he said of the number of Black players occupying places on major-league rosters — 7.8%. “But it’s such a blessing to still be one that is still around and bringing a lot of excitement and energy to the game. Those guys paved the way for guys like me.”
“Those guys” are the players from the Negro Leagues, which celebrated the 100-year anniversary of their founding Sunday.
“Me being the only Black guy on the South Side, it’s only right I continue to keep going and keep motivating and keep inspiring kids all around the world to get into the game of baseball,” Anderson said.
Anderson, a basketball standout from Alabama who found baseball later in his youth, doesn’t hide his view that baseball isn’t as exciting as some other sports. He has done his part to liven it up, demonstrating energy on the field, in the dugout and, most notably, in the batter’s box after some of his home runs with bat flips.
“Just being honest. With all respect, the game is boring,” said Anderson, who led the majors with a .335 average last season and is batting .333 this year after going 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in the Sox’ 7-2 victory. “There isn’t a lot of excitement, and the game is moving to show more guys and show more personality. I like the way it’s going, but I always just do me. I stay in my lane and strive to get better and also just continue to grow as myself and learn as much as I can.”
Players, managers, coaches and umpires wore symbolic Negro Leagues 100th anniversary logo patches. The Sox remembered iconic Negro Leaguers, including Andrew “Rube” Foster, Minnie Miñoso, Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe and Jackie Robinson, displaying commemorative cutouts near their dugout.
Anderson was right to say the numbers have declined during his lifetime, but they did increase from 68 to 80 on Opening Day rosters this season. He’d like to see more African Americans play his game, but “the game is expensive when you are younger,” he said.
“The game is expensive to get in, and it requires a lot from parents and from kids to continue to follow their dreams in this sport.”
Keuchel’s visit from trainer
Dallas Keuchel pitched 5‰ innings of two-run ball, both runs scoring in the sixth inning after he said his back tightened up during the Sox’ fifth inning, when they batted around. Manager Rick Renteria and trainer James Kruk came out to check on him during the sixth, but Keuchel stayed in before being replaced by Jimmy Cordero after allowing a two-run single to Matt Carpenter.
“Just was a little tight,” Keuchel said. “We scored a bunch of runs and I was trying to loosen up in between, just didn’t get to the point I wanted to. Not really concerned about it.”
Renteria went to Matt Foster to protect a 7-2 lead in the eighth, using him on consecutive days for the first time, and the right-hander extending his scoreless streak to 10‰ innings to open his career, although Paul Goldschmidt singled and Carpenter flied out to center fielder Luis Robert at the wall. It was the first time in seven appearances Foster did not record a strikeout.