Black players win MLB Rookie of the Year awards
11/19/2020, 6 p.m.
African-Americans have made a clean sweep of Major League Baseball’s Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards.
Seattle Mariners center fielder Kyle Lewis is the American League winner while Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Devin Williams is the National League winner.
It marked the first time since 1984 that Black players won both AL and NL rookie honors.
In 1984, Dwight Gooden won the NL award with the New York Mets while Seattle first baseman Alvin Davis was the AL winner.
The annual awards are named after the iconic Robinson, who was MLB’s very first Rookie of the Year in 1947, as well as the first Black player in the modern era. He broke the color barrier in MLB playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Lewis, 25, hit .262 with 11 homers, 28 runs batted in and five stolen bases in the shortened 60-game schedule this season. From Snellville, Ga., the 6-foot-4 Lewis was a first round draft pick in 2016 coming out of Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Williams, a second round draft pick in 2013 out of Hazelwood West High School in Missouri, posted a 4-1 record with a 0.33 earned run average in 22 games in relief for the Brewers.
The 6-foot-2 right-hander struck out 53 batters in 27 innings and is the first relief pitcher to garner Rookie of the Year honors since the Atlanta Braves’ Criag Kimbrel in 2011.
After Robinson’s rookie victory in 1947, the next player of color to win the award was the Minnesota Twins’ Tony Oliva, a Black Cuban, in 1964.
The next African-American to win the award was the Chicago White Sox’s Tommie Agee in 1966.
The award is voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.