Hello again Black Bears fans, Zack Smolen back with you, and I hope you’re staying warm though these frigid February days. Though it’s not looking like pitchers & catchers will report on time up in the big leagues, there’s still plenty to help us keep baseball on the mind to distract from the snow and the ever present fear of frostbite. 

For one thing, this of course is Black History Month, where we take an even closer look at all of the amazing contributions and impact African-, and other Black Americans have had on this great nation. And of course one can’t tell the story of America without her pastime, which found itself front-and center of a chapter of the Civil Rights Movement. 

I’m talking of course about the great Brooklyn Dodgers second-baseman Jackie Robinson, who broke MLB’s color barrier on April 15, 1947 in a 5-3 victory over the Boston Braves. Since #42’s debut and all of his accomplishments, baseball has been blessed with many athletes of color who have helped make baseball the great game that it is. 

Aside from Robinson and other MLB players, the Negro Leagues also present us with a rich history of America’s pastime boasting stars such as Josh Gibson, Larry Doby, Satchel Paige, Bullet Rogan, Willie Mays and many, many others. Recently, Major Negro Leagues from 1920-48 were formally recognized by MLB as major leagues and with that spurned new writings and deeper research into these great players and franchises. While we wait for the weather to warm up and our favorite sport to return, I would highly recommend spending some time checking out baseballreference.com for their Negro League content to learn a little bit more about the sport’s history.

Bear Tracks

I now digress from our discussion of baseball on the national scope to shift the focus back to Longview, where Cowlitz’s ball club has been wheeling and dealing as of late with a flurry of exciting winter signings for the upcoming 2022 season. Based on my last post, you know how I feel about returning players, so today we’ll be focusing on infielder Brock Bozett. 

2021 was a special year for the Spokane, WA native, as he led the Black Bears in RBI (33), games played (45), at-bats (160), and McDonald’s sandwiches purchased for the team broadcaster (4). He was able to parlay those numbers — and his spectacular defense — into a commitment with Gonzaga, and a chance to show his skills on the Division I level. You can get to know Brock a little better by watching my interview with him here.

Less than 4 months until Opening Day against the Raptors! 

-Stay Frosty