The White Sox hosted baseball's Civil Rights Game on Saturday when they took on the Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field, and the occasion provided former players to opportunity to reflect on the shared history of both baseball and the civil rights movement.
White Sox legend and Comcast SportsNet baseball analyst Frank Thomas gave his thoughts on Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier in 1947, on Saturday's edition of White Sox Pregame Live.
"After seeing the movie '42,' what Jackie did, I know I couldn't have done that," Thomas said. "Especially, the moment in the movie with the manager screaming on the top step the whole time, there's no way I could have done that. So we all tip our hat to Jackie Robinson for being that guy, for being that pioneer, that hero who changed the game forever for us."
Thomas was also prompted to give his thoughts on the decreasing number of black baseball players, and he said it has to do with the preference given to other sports.
"It's still not a glamour sport in the neighborhoods. It's basketball, it's football. Baseball is always looked upon as the third sport, maybe fourth sometimes because of track and field," Thomas said. "But it's one of those things where we've got to do more, continue to integrate the inner cities with academies and RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) programs and things like that to get the kids motivated to play baseball. It's not a very cheap sport to play. You've got to have bat, glove, balls. It's something in the inner city that's not as easy as throwing the football out there or throwing that basketball out there. So we've got to continue to work on that."
Check out the video above to see the rest of Thomas' comments, as well as highlights from Saturday's Beacon Awards luncheon, where other legends like Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson talked about similar topics and Thomas' former White Sox teammate Bo Jackson was honored.