by: Mr. November
After hearing and reading Gary Sheffield's recent comments about Joe Torre, I decided to do a little bit of research. Something just didn't seem quite right. Sheffield claimed that Torre treated black players differently than he did white players; he tended to call them out in meetings while talking to white players behind closed doors.
In a statement more about the lack of diversity in baseball than the policies of Torre, I started to wonder exactly how many black players played with the Yankees during the Sheffield years. In my mind, it simply didn't seem like too many. Sheffield played for the Yankees in 2004, 2005, and part of 2006. Go ahead, think about it - name some other black players during those years.
There were more than I thought. Here they are, with the number of games they played during the Sheffield era in parentheses: Gary Sheffield (347), Derek Jeter (467), Tom Gordon (159), Tony Womack (108), Tony Clark (106), Kenny Lofton (83), Shawn Chacon (31), Matt Lawton (21), Kevin Thompson (15), and Terrence Long (12), and Homer Bush (9) Whew. 11 black Yankees from 2004-2006, if you're a reasonable person and disagree with Sheffield and include Derek Jeter in that list.
I don't agree with anything Gary Sheffield said. I don't even believe he and Jeter were best friends when they were teammates. I am, however, taken aback by the numbers in the previous paragraphs. 120 players, if you consider 40 man rosters (but disregard repeats) and only 11 black players. That's not a Torre problem, that's a baseball problem.