Xavier PaulÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/L.A. Dodgers
The Dodgers’ 8-0 win on May 9 wasn’t just notable for being the first win post-Manny Ramirez’s suspension. By game’s end, six Black players were on the field.
When rookie Xavier Paul entered the game in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement for Andre Ethier, he joined Matt Kemp, Juan Pierre, James Loney, Orlando Hudson and Russell Martin.
Paul, Kemp and Pierre sharing the outfield was even rarer as only two other teams in baseball – San Diego and Washington – employ three Black outfielders.
Hudson, who has been outspoken about the lack of Blacks in baseball, was surprised when told afterwards of the number.
“We sure did, didn’t we,” he said after thinking it over.
It was something that may have been lost on the fans who hadn’t left the stadium but silently it was another sign that more Blacks are finding opportunities to play on the major league level.
Paul, who was called up to fill Ramirez’s spot on the roster, gives the Dodgers eight Black players, tops in the majors at a time when the number of Black players around major league baseball has risen to its highest percentage in years – 10.2 percent in 2008…
The newest Dodger also recorded his first major league hit, a single in the eighth inning against the Giants.
The 24-year-old out of Slidell, Louisiana had made only one plate appearance before the game, grounding into a double play on May 7. This time, he singled to center with two outs, but was thrown out attempting to steal several pitches later.
He kept the baseball afterwards, but did not address reporters following the team’s 7-5 loss.
Paul spent the previous six seasons in the minors and had been touted as having the best outfield arm in the organization each year.