The Houston Astros are the first World Series team since the 1953 New York Yankees without an African American player on their active roster. That troubles all-time home run king Hank Aaron, who said Wednesday that the Astros need to make an effort to sign African American players.
"It is very disturbing to see something like this," Aaron said. "And you would think that this ballclub could find at least one or two African Americans, especially in this city. It's very disturbing. I think they need to look at that very carefully. They need to talk to people in the scouting department and everybody else because this needs to be addressed."
Only 9 percent of players on major league rosters on Opening Day were African American. Outfielders Terrmel Sledge and J.J. Davis were the only African American players on the Washington Nationals' Opening Day roster. The Baltimore Orioles had none.
"That's part of it because the numbers aren't there," Aaron said. "We don't have enough players. But I think each club needs to look at that carefully. The Astros need to address that. It's a thing where the way the game is played today you would think there is no excuse for an African American not to be on this club."
Aaron was in Houston to present Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones and Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz with the Hank Aaron Award as the most outstanding offensive performers in each league.
Perhaps as retribution for the home run that unofficially eliminated the Astros from the World Series, Houston utility player Chris Burke will refuse to pay rent to his landlord.
Burke is renting a house from Chicago infielder Geoff Blum, who hit the deciding home run in Tuesday night's 7-5, 14-inning Game 3. Blum bought the house while playing for the Astros in 2002-03.
"It's very ironic," Burke said. "My wife talked about it last night. I think he's actually looking to unload it. Maybe he can up the price on it now because he hit a World Series home run."
Last season's tenant was Astros shortstop Adam Everett, a close friend of Blum's.
"It's tough when one of your best friends in baseball does it," Everett said. "It's bittersweet."
Everett said he hasn't spoken with Blum since the home run.
"I'm sure he's getting a billion phone calls," Everett said. "I'm sure he's savoring the moment."
All-Time Latino Team
Twelve players and seven countries were honored before Game 4 as part of a Major League Baseball promotion that chose an all-time team of Latino players. Latinos make up nearly 25 percent of all big league rosters.
Juan Marichal, Rod Carew, Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez and Pedro Martinez were among those introduced in a ceremony led by actor Edward James Olmos. Others taking part were Edgar Martinez, Fernando Valenzuela and two sons of the late Roberto Clemente, Luis and Roberto Jr. Marichal then threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Ivan Rodriguez using his trademark high leg kick.
Other players chosen to the Latino Legends team included Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero and Mariano Rivera. More than 1.6 million votes were cast online and at selected car dealerships.