In the last three decades, the deluge of African-American players into the Major Leagues has gone from a flood to a trickle. From the height in the mid 1970s, the numbers have dwindled down to a paltry 8.5 percent.
Beltran's post-season credentials are a product of his strong play, but also of the era in which he played. When baseball moved to the expanded playoff system following the 1993 season, it pro-actively sought to change how its past is viewed.
The pregame ritual happened every spring between 1951 and 1956. I bounded down the stairs of my family's two-flat in Brooklyn, a leather mitt covering my left hand, and excitedly knocked on my grandparents' door. Ready to go, Pop?