Is Jackie Robinson's legacy honored in Delray Beach Little Leagues?

Little racial mixing in Delray Little Leagues

Delray Beach, Fla. -- Jackie Robinson's legacy is being celebrated in movie theatres across the country this weekend.

But in Delray Beach, there are questions of whether the local little league teams represent what Jackie Robinson does.

Delray Beach's American Little League at Pompey Park on the northside is made up of 95 percent black players.

Delray Beach's National Little League, which plays at Miller Park on the southside is made up of mostly white players.

"If you look at the outline you can clearly see that we have a black neighborhood and a white neighborhood," said travel team coach Erinn Johnson.

Eddie Odom is the first black pro ballplayer from Delray and the founder of the American Little League.

The league is 95 percent black, and he says that's because of league boundaries first drawn in the 50s that excluded primarily black neighborhoods.

Odom's league started in the 70s to give everyone a chance.

"This is where we live, this is where the ballparks are located, and this is where we play," said Odom. "It's fine with me."

Odom says there's no animosity between leagues and that both eagerly welcome everyone.

He also says the Pompey Park league is crucial because it gives youngsters a shot in a sport that has seen the number of black major leaguers dwindle since the 80s.

"We got kids in college playing, with scholarships and stuff. Why? Because they played baseball here," said Odom.

Johnson's travel team is mixed, he says, because he needed a few northside players to field a full team.

He says Delray Beach should have one league.

"It shouldn't be split down the middle like that," said Johnson. "It's absolutely silly. I don't know how many other cities are like that in the United States of America, but I've always felt like Al Sharpton, if he got a hold of this, he'd be down here, right?"

We were unable to reach the leadership of the Miller Park Little League.

The Pompey Park one says there are no plans to consolidate in the near-future.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments