Thursday, June 7, 2007
Twins' Hunter: '10 years from now you'll see no blacks, at all'
ESPN.com news services
Just days after Gary Sheffield's controversial remarks about Latino players, Minnesota's Torii Hunter weighed into the fray on a national radio show.
"You can go to Latin America and get that same talent as a black player in Compton and if he's in Compton he gets drafted in the first round he's going to get two million dollars," Hunter said on Fox Sports Radio. "If he doesn't pan out, you're out two million dollars but if you go to the Domincan, Cuba, or whatever and you can get a guy for two thousand dollars and he doesn't pan out you're only down two thousand dollars. I do agree that, you know 10 years from now you'll see no blacks, at all."
Sheffield said he was surprised his comments, which appear in the current issue of GQ magazine, created such a stir. The outspoken slugger said he merely answered a question about why there were so many Latin players in baseball as opposed to blacks.
Sheffield insisted he meant "nothing derogatory" toward Latin players when he said recently that Major League Baseball found it easier to "control them" than black players.
Sheffield's comments Tuesday were similar to those he made to the magazine, when he expressed his long-held belief.
"What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. ... [It's about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do -- being able to control them," he told the magazine. "Where I'm from, you can't control us."
In expanding on his comment about control, Sheffield said Tuesday, "They have more to lose than we do. You can send them back across the island. You can't send us back. We're already here."
Carlos Guillen, Sheffield's Tiger's teammate, said he was happy Sheffield said what he said.
"I'm happy he said it," Guillen told The Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. "I'm glad somebody spoke up."
Last season, only 8.4 percent of major-league baseball players were black, the lowest level in at least two decades, according to an annual report by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. The report showed that 29.4 percent of players last season were Latino.
Guillen told The Free Press that Sheffield's words in the GQ article rang true with his own experience as a young Latin player trying to break into the big leagues.
"In my first year, in rookie league, I hurt my elbow and I played DH," he told the newspaper. "In my first at-bat, I hit a double, and I missed first base. I was out, and they screamed at me."
"I didn't know what to say. If I had said anything, they would have sent me home. I was afraid to talk.
"That happens to every Latin player. They are afraid to talk," Guillen said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.