We have a few days to really enjoy the glorious reward of seeing our favorite baseball squadron finally obliterate narratives and have a shot at complete redemption. The 71 years in between pennants certainly invokes the use of the word “history” in describing this momentous achievement, and while the young Cubs players are going to make their own name separate from the post-World War II squad, they will also make history another way.
There are a few members of the projected Cubs World Series roster who are obviously darker skinned, but only three are what we would consider “African-American”: outfielders Dexter Fowler and Jason Heyward, and pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. I know people get a bit chippy whenever I blog about something like this, but I don’t think it’s any secret that African-American kids have a disadvantage when it comes to being prepared for and becoming noticed while playing baseball. Without getting too political, here’s something that does interest me, and may interest you as well:
How appropriate that the first Cub to play in the WS will be a black man (Dexter Fowler) – they weren't even allowed to play the last time.
— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) October 23, 2016
Fowler himself later found the tweet and was surprised to find out this was true. Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub himself, never played in the postseason, and didn’t even debut for the Cubs until well after their last pennant in 1945. So this will be one of those moments that might be lost in trivia, but I hope that the next generation of Cubs fans (some of whom will be young African-Americans) realizes how special this is. And since Fowler is the leadoff hitter, batting first as the away team in Cleveland, Rany’s tweet is very much true.
As franchise narratives continue to be bulldozed away, Fowler and his teammates will be knocking down another barrier in a grander sense. I hope this moment won’t be pushed under the rug, even if some may find it relatively insignificant.