In 1947 Cleveland Indian Larry Doby was the first black baseball player to play in the American League. He experienced the same tribulations that Jackie Robinson encountered in the National League.
In 1975 Indians player-manager Frank Robinson was the first black field manager in the Major Leagues. He held the spot through 1977. The Indians were the first to hire a black manager but have failed to do so since Robinson's departure.
Toward the end of 1985-86 season Cavalier's assistant coach Gene Littles replaced George Carl making him the first black head coach in the team's history. The Cavs named Lenny Wilkens as their head guy the following season. Current coach Paul Silas has been in place since 2003. He followed John Lucas and interim coach Keith Smart. It seems the NBA is closer than MLB and the NFL in regard to equal employment opportunities.
Romeo Crennel in all likelihood will be the next coach of the Cleveland Browns. If the rumor is true he will retain Terry Robiskie as offensive coordinator and bring in Pepper Johnson as defensive coordinator. That will mark another first made by a Cleveland team. It will be the first time black coach's hold the top three coaching positions on an AFC team.
This occurred before in the NFL, but it happened with an NFC team. In 1999 the Green Bay Packers made NFL history hiring Ray Rhodes as the head coach. His coordinators were Sherman Lewis on offense and Emmitt Thomas on defense. Unfortunately the Packers didn't give him much of an opportunity. They fired Rhodes after an 8-8 record in his first year.
It has been fifty-eight years since Larry Doby took the field as a Cleveland Indian. It has been thirty years since player-manager Frank Robinson hit that Opening Day home run. With that being said, if the 2005 Browns top three coaches are black it will be a significant time in history.
Hopefully we will get to a day when occurrences like these are commonplace and not moments of historical value.
News and notes
We have been preoccupied with who will be the next coach of the Browns and what Senior Bowl standout will possibly don an orange helmet next season. During this time a few news items have flown under the radar: Here are the news items that my wasted mind found interesting:
- Tight end Darnell Sanders was waived by the Atlanta Falcons before the NFC Championship Game. Sanders played at Ohio State and
spent his first years in the NFL with the Browns. Butch Davis released him
before the start of the 2004 season.
- Browns fans can forget about former Charger
offensive line coach Hudson Houck joining the Browns. He was recently hired by
Nick Saban and the Dolphins. I have a feeling that Nick Saban, Mike Nolan, and
Romeo Crennel will be compared their entire head coaching careers. It will be
interesting to see which one sets the bar.
- Former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett has been
ruled eligible for the 2005 NFL Draft. I hope that an AFC team other than the
Browns waste a pick on him.
- Teams are allocating players to NFL Europe. The
Browns haven't located Europe on the globe yet.
- The Patriots David Patten and Earthwind Moreland are
the only past Browns on the Super Bowl teams' rosters. Yes, Belichick was able
to find a fire in Earthwind.
- Bill Cowher is glad no team is asking to interview
his coaches and he plans to make no changes. A chin reduction would be
- Ravens running back Jamal Lewis was sentenced to four months in prison. Ravens defensive back Corey Fuller begins his trial on gambling and firearm charges. The Ravens have truly become the Raiders of the East.
Browns fans need a dictionary
Recently the Browns Official Website polled the fans with the following question:
Who's the most intriguing player at this week's Senior Bowl?
50.7 % of the fans responding said it was Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent.
Browns fans have truly lost it if they think a kicker is intriguing. The only way a kicker is intriguing is if he is 6'2", 250 lbs., runs like a gazelle and leads the team in special team tackles.
Red, White and Blue Super Bowl
This year's Super Bowl is going to have a red, white, and blue theme.