Over the last couple of days we’ve gotten our annual reminder of just how historically significant it was for Jackie Robinson to break baseball’s color barrier in 1947. What is often overlooked at these times is just how significant the breaking of the color barrier — or, in the case of some teams, the decision to cling to segregationist policies — was for competitive purposes.
Today Jay Jaffe has a good article about that over at Fangraphs. The big takeaway: the Dodgers, Giants and Braves, all of whom integrated swiftly, came to dominate the National League over the next two decades. In turn, the National League came to dominate all of baseball.
Jaffe goes into pretty good detail on all of this. We all know about Hall of Famers like Robinson and, eventually, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, who were later signed from the Negro Leagues, but Jaffe talks about more minor black stars who helped sustain these clubs in the 1950s and into the 1960s lesser black players who, while perhaps not making a mark in the bigs, made their organizations deeper and more competitive. The story illustrates that it was the commitment to integration, not just the act of integrating, that mattered when it game to the nuts and bolts of baseball.
Bad news for the Cubs’ Yu Darvish: The right-hander is headed back to the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis, the team announced Saturday. It’s the second such assignment for Darvish this season, but the first time he’s been sidelined with arm issues. Neither the severity of his injury nor a concrete timeframe for his recovery has been revealed yet, but the move is retroactive to May 23 and will allow him to come off the DL by June 2, assuming all goes well.
Prior to the injury, Darvish went 1-3 in eight starts with a 4.95 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 through 40 innings. Needless to say, these aren’t the kind of results the Cubs were hoping to see after inking the righty to a six-year, $126 million contract back in February, though the circumstances affecting his performances appear to have largely been out of his control. He missed a start in early May after coming down with the flu and has struggled to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of his eight starts to date.
The Cubs recalled left-hander Randy Rosario from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rosario has yet to amass more than five career innings in the majors, but has impressed at Triple-A so far this year: he maintained an 0.97 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 through 19 1/3 innings in 2018. As for Darvish’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, Tyler Chatwood is lined up to take the mound when the Cubs face off against the Giants in the series finale on Sunday. A starter for Monday night’s game has yet to be determined.