July 1, 2002

Monday, July 1, 2002 Originally appeared in Pittsburg Tribune Review, article by Rob Biertempfel

DETROIT — Saturday night, the Pirates and Detroit Tigers took part in a salute to the Negro Leagues. The teams wore uniforms of the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Detroit Stars. A handful of former Negro League veterans were honored in a pregame ceremony.

But, did many of the current players in either dugout have any clue what the Negro Leagues were all about? "I doubt it," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. That's not surprising.

As he was breaking Rogers Hornsby's hitting streak and chasing Joe DiMaggio's last week, Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins admitted he had never heard of either player. To many of today's players, Cool Papa Bell has a lower Q rating than P. Diddy. Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson might as well have played on the moon.

"In my era, we were aware of our past and our traditions, and we thought a lot about them," McClendon said. "I don't think you can say the same for this new generation of baseball players. "We don't have as many students of the game, that's for sure. It's a different breed, a different era.

Things change and players have different interests. "I'm not saying it's bad and I'm not saying it's good. I'm certainly not judging anybody. I'm just stating the fact: they don't know about it."