Sheffield Says Latin Players Easier To ‘Control’

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: June 4, 2007

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball has more Latin players than African-Americans because Latins are easier to control, Detroit Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield said in an interview with GQ that appears in the June edition of the magazine.

“I called it years ago,” Sheffield said, the magazine reported. “What I called is that you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out.”

Sheffield went on to say that MLB picks Latin players over equally talented African-Americans because they’re easier to control, the magazine reported.

“It’s about being able to tell (Latin players) what to do. … Being able to control them,” Sheffield said, GQ reported. “Where I’m from, you can’t control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end he is going to go back to being who he is. And that’s a person that you’re going to talk to with respect, you’re going to talk to like a man. These are the things that my race demands.

“So if you’re equally good as this Latin player, guess who’s going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys.”

Only 8.4 percent of major league players last season were African American, the lowest level in at least two decades, according to a study by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

As recently as 1995, 19 percent of big leaguers were black, according to Richard Lapchick, director of institute. Nine percent were black in both 2004 and 2005, and the current figure is the lowest since at least the mid-1980s, he said.

Sheffield also spoke about Barry Bonds’ pursuit of Hank Aaron’s home-run record, and whether Bonds and McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame.

Sheffield, who has had a stormy relationship at times with Bonds, said commissioner Bud Selig should be in attendance when Bonds breaks Aaron’s career homer record, the magazine reported.

“It ain’t easy what (Bonds is) doing,” Sheffield said, GQ reported. “To not acknowledge it, you’re basically calling him a liar out loud; you’re buying into all these stories that’s written. And Bonds was hitting home runs before all this started.”

Sheffield also said Bonds and McGwire “absolutely” belong in the Hall, the magazine reported.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Sheffield said, GQ reported. “It’s just as simple as that. And it wasn’t illegal at the time. You’re who you are until you get caught, and that’s the way the game has always been.”

McGwire failed by a wide margin to make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot this year.