The Atlantic

The Forgotten Legacy of Bill Lucas

The Atlanta Braves executive became the first black man to run a Major League Baseball team—but few have followed in his footsteps in the last 40 years.
Source: Atlanta Braves

On September 19, 1976, the Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner promoted a man named Bill Lucas to vice president of player personnel. Though Turner, somewhat oddly, kept the official title of general manager, Lucas assumed the job's responsibilities, overseeing the Braves’ roster. As a former minor-league player who had climbed through Atlanta's front office, Lucas was a typical hire, except for one fact: Unlike every other man to ever run a Major League Baseball franchise until that point, he was black.

Nearly three decades after Jackie Robinson had become the first black player in the modern Major Leagues and two years after Frank Robinson had become the first black on-field manager, Lucas had shattered another barrier. Sadly, Lucas’s tenure as the Braves’ top baseball executive didn’t last long: He died at age 43 of a sudden brain hemorrhage in 1979, after only two and a half years on the job. The Braves, moribund when Lucas took over, wound up winning the National League West in 1982 with a roster Lucas helped build.

Forty years have passed since Lucas’s first season as Braves’ GM, and in February the team celebrated the anniversary in a ceremony at the brand-new SunTrust Park. There, the Braves announced several plans to commemorate Lucas, including a

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da The Atlantic

The Atlantic13 min lettiPolitics
The 2020 Congressional-Retirement Tracker
For the second consecutive election, more Republicans than Democrats are forgoing reelection, a potentially ominous sign for the GOP in 2020.
The Atlantic7 min letti
The Date Hong Kong Protesters Can’t Escape
The year 2047 is a deadline that has come to symbolize the end of the territory’s way of life.
The Atlantic6 min lettiPolitics
The Ukraine Transcripts Are a Road Map for Impeachment
The experience of following the impeachment inquiry over the past week has been a bit like that old Buster Keaton skit of a man being taken down by an ever-expanding newspaper. The 1921 clip from the silent movie The High Sign shows Keaton settling d