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Jerry Hairston Jr., 16-Year MLB Veteran

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2024 10:01 pm

Jerry Hairston Jr., 16-Year MLB Veteran

JR Sports Brief / JR

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May 29, 2024 10:01 pm

Jerry Hairston Jr. joined JR to discuss Major League Baseball integrating Negro League statistics into their record books and why he's hesitant about a robotic strike zone. 

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The all new season of the Kardashians is now streaming on Hulu. Jerry, thank you for taking the time to join us. Appreciate it. Yeah, no problem.

No problem. How you doing? I'm very well. Well, when you think about what Major League Baseball has done, and I want to get to your own personal connection to this, are you surprised that this has taken place? I'm not surprised that it's taken place. To be honest, I think it took a long time for it to come to fruition. The one thing I will say, basically, baseball did an incredible job. The Negro League Statistical Review Committee did an incredible job.

This was not done on a whim. This took years of study, making sure they got the statistics from the Negro League from the year 1920 to, I believe, 1948 or 49. And they made sure they included the box scores. They double checked, triple checked, making sure that they got all the statistical analysis right. Now, if it was a barnstorming game, if it was something that wasn't meaningful, where the statistics weren't double checked and it wasn't clear, they didn't use those statistics.

So these were taken not on a whim. It took years of planning, years of research, and they got the proper statistics correct. Listen, guys like Bob Feller, for years when he was alive, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, talked about the Negro Leagues and were very passionate about, and adamant, how it was a major league, and how the black players, guys like Josh Dickson, Satchel Paige, should be in the Hall of Fame, and that league should be recognized as a major league. So I'm glad that it's finally being recognized. And the way I put it is, I know there's some people that are, you know, don't view it positively.

I'll say this. Well, for everybody who's saying, well, you know, Josh Dickson didn't play in the major leagues and Satchel Paige didn't put up those numbers in the major leagues, you know, they weren't in major league baseball. Well, you can make a case, you know, Bob Babe Ruth and Bob Feller and Ted Williams weren't facing those guys when they played major league baseball.

This is American history, okay? And imagine if Pastor Holmes, with his talent, wasn't allowed to showcase his talent and his abilities, and his stats weren't recognized. Imagine if Michael Jordan, his stats weren't recognized. So I'm so glad that finally major league baseball took, you know, the proper protocol as far as making sure they got everything right to incorporate these statistics, because back then everybody knew Josh Dickson was the best hitter on the plant. Everybody knew that back then. Jerry Hairston Jr. is here with us, former big leaguer, current broadcaster for the Dodgers.

This is personal for you. Correct me if I'm wrong. You have a long family lineage. Your grandfather, Sam Hairston, played in the Negro Leagues. He helped integrate the White Sox. Is that accurate?

It is accurate. My grandfather, Sam, was the first black player to play for the Chicago White Sox. He went two for five, and he was sent down to the minor leagues and never called up again. Back then the White Sox integrated him and wasn't given another opportunity to be in the big leagues.

He, for I believe it was eight seasons, hit well over 300, was dominating the AAA, but didn't get another opportunity. So, you know, my grandfather was never bitter, but I always felt guilty knowing that my grandfather was a better player than I was, and yet I got a chance to reap the benefits of playing 16 years in the major leagues, and my grandfather didn't have that opportunity that I had, and he was a far better player than I was. So I'm glad that players like my grandfather, guys that were better than him, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson for years stated he was not the best player. Well, he was not the best player when he came and broke the color brand. So I'm glad that they'll be recognized, and it just goes to show, if you look back at the history, after Jackie Robinson won the MVP in 1949, nine of the next 11 players in the National League that won the MVP were black. Think about that for a second. That's how much talent that was in the Negro Leagues, and, you know, people could say, well, it was the major leagues, you know, and, you know, they could say, well, they didn't face, you know, so-and-so, they didn't face Dave Bruce, they didn't face, you know, Walter Johnson.

Well, guess what? They didn't have to face Josh Gibson. They didn't have to face Satchel Paige, prime Satchel Paige, when he was in the Negro Leagues. So you can have that vice versa conversation, but I'm glad major leagues baseball did this, and they're recognizing the great players that were in the Negro Leagues. And Jerry Hairston Jr. is here with us, the JR Sport Reshow Coast to Coast on the Infinity Sports Network. You know, there's, there have been conversations, and it hasn't even been 24 hours yet, but there have been conversations about opening up the record books to overseas leagues in the Pacific, and I personally find that to be different.

What are your thoughts on that? Well, here's the deal. Remember, this is American history. Okay, so major league baseball obviously is America's pastime. Okay, now everybody can say, well, what about Ichiro? Ichiro is a friend of mine, a guy that I value, respect, incredible ballplayer, but remember Jackie Robinson booked the color barrier in 47.

Okay, so in Japan, they have their own league. It's a great league, but it's not America's pastime as far as when the players were playing back then, weren't physically able to play in their league. Ichiro could have come over at any time and played major league baseball.

You know what I'm saying? He could have played major league baseball because it had been integrated in 47, right? So again, Japanese baseball had incredible talent. They still have incredible talent. I'm just seeing Shohei Ohtani right now do his thing. He's arguably the best player on the planet and he's going to have a strong cage, maybe the best player ever when it's all said and done, but right now major league baseball is taking time and he's taken so much time that it was a grave injustice done that they physically weren't allowed to play, that Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige was playing and all the rest of the players, they weren't physically allowed to play during this time, during America's time when major league baseball was segregated. Obviously after 47, Japanese players, Puerto Rican players, all sorts of players were able to come over and have that opportunity to play. Well Jerry, you mentioned the Dodgers and what's currently going on.

I know you helped broadcast for them. You see all of their games currently in New York right now. How have they been able to weather this storm at the early portion of the season? Distractions overseas, Ohtani's, financial issues and here they are again looking like consenders and they're not even at full peak. Yeah, I mean they've got off to a pretty good start. Now obviously they went on the road to Cincinnati, got swept, but I love the way they bounced back.

They went and swept the New York Mets in New York. They're starting to swing the bats again. The pitching has been pretty good.

I would say it's been better than I expected as far as you know having that continuity. We have rookie and Yamamoto. We have a new guy in Tyler Glass now having that rapport with our catchers. They've really done a great job of hitting the ground running.

James Paxton has done an incredible job as well. So you know the Dodgers are playing really good baseball, but the main thing and they understand this, they want to be playing their best baseball come September and October. That's what they want to do.

So you're going to have lulls here and there throughout the course of the season. They have a great team. If they stay healthy and if they continue to get better as far as cohesively getting used to playing with each other. Obviously show Otani he's new to this ball club.

I think they're going to be a tough team to beat. So so far they've been fun to watch. Otani, you talk about these distractions. I'm telling you man, he has been smiling. He's been happy ever since the interpreter has left. He's more able to now be himself. You know I think the interpreter kind of blocked him from his teammates.

I can imagine. He wanted, well now we know why. He wanted to you know keep Otani from everybody and now he's more open. He's laughing. He's funny. He reminds you of kangaroo junior the way he's pranking guys. Always laughing in the clubhouse and when I played with junior he was always laughing and I was like man and I told my teammates Griffy's always in a good mood and one of my teammates said was he had that swing.

Would you be in a good mood all the time? I said you're right and Otani you have that talent he would be in a good mood all the time. So I'm just so happy that that's behind him. The truth has come out. The FBI did an incredible job investigating and that's the one thing too. You don't mess with the FBI man. They can care less who you are. You know what I'm saying? They don't care if you're Shoei Otani.

They don't care if you're whoever. They're going to get to the bottom of it and they got to the bottom of it and now Shoei Otani can go out there and be himself and he's been you know adamant from day one of his innocence and that's why he was always happy. He knew he had nothing to hide and he's playing great baseball. Yeah we know he's one of the best.

Jerry Hairston Jr. is here with us as we start to wrap things up. There's been a lot of conversations over the past few days about umpiring. Man you you stood at the plate. You know about the umps. What are your thoughts about major league baseball integration over into using a little bit of technology to get the job done over the next few years?

You know what I'm scared of the technology because of what I've heard that technology isn't ready. I want the umpire to do their job. They're paid a lot of money to cause balls and strikes. Now I will say this if we have a challenge system where if you argue ball and strike whatever you get say three or four throughout the course of a game then you can use a challenge system. But I want the human element still in the game.

You know what I'm saying? If they're not doing their job right just like the players they should be set to the minor leagues or lose their job. You know so I don't want an automated strike zone because it takes away from the human element. Hire umpires that should be calling the strikes and balls correctly.

Okay? There's good umpires out there. In fact they're great umpires out there. There should be the ones that are calling balls and strikes in the big leagues. Now each team should get three or four you know challenge systems if you think it's a ball or a strike whatever you have a right to challenge.

If you lose that challenge you lose one of your other challenges. So I think that's what they should do as far as having an automated strike zone for every pitch I'm not taping that. I hear you.

Well last question for you Jerry and this is an important one. Now that we have this this full integration of of negro league stats into major league baseball where can people find out more information? I know the players alliance does an excellent job with withholding events. I know Bob Kendrick he does an excellent job spreading the word.

Where can people find out more information and attend some of these events and get to the different museums and what have you so they can learn a little bit more? Please guys go see if you haven't go to Kansas City go see my good friend Bob Kendrick's Negro Museum does an incredible job of making sure all those statistics all the history was preserved and also I'm going to say this Cooperstown I was just there man they have now have a new exhibit there honoring past legends of the Negro Leagues they did an incredible job making sure they preserved that history as well so make sure you go to Kansas City if you haven't been there go to Cooperstown and also I'm going to put another one out there Birmingham Alabama they have a Negro League Museum there in Birmingham Alabama as well they did did an incredible job so those three I would make sure you go visit if you haven't already. Hey Jerry I appreciate the time and for you dropping the knowledge you you you shared some information I think and set a lot of people straight especially folks who go why why why are they doing this it's not it's not fair you you nailed it it's history it took place here in the states and we all know a lot of people and that's the thing this is not black history this is American history this took place in America and I'm glad this is being rectified this is what Ted Williams wanted you can listen to his hall of fame speech this is what Babe Ruth wanted this is what Bob Feller wanted and the rest of the players wanted listen I'm a former Asian baseball player we want to play against the best players period and we know who's the best and for them back then knowing that man these guys need to be playing in our league the Josh Gibson's the Satchel Paige I'm glad that they're finally getting recognized now in my opinion it's late but better late than never. That's all you can ask for Jerry where can people follow you and all your work now with the Dodgers?

Well I'm on Sport Spectrum Sportsnet LA in LA and you can follow me on uh at the real Jay Hare on Twitter. Hey Jerry give me give me a day or two I'm gonna I'm gonna post a throwback photo of you and I in 2009 when Alex Rodriguez and Ray Negron were giving away backpacks on River Avenue. Dude I remember that yeah tell you what any throwback Thursday I'll repost. Oh well you'll see it you'll see it tomorrow man this is 2009 on on River Avenue at the new mural at Ray Dead you'll see it. I remember that day great day great year. It was man well thank you so much for dropping knowledge here for a wider audience and we'll catch you on down the line okay? Sounds good brother you take care.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-29 22:17:05 / 2024-05-29 22:24:22 / 7

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