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Top five Black players to dawn a Salem jersey

January 31, 2022

This February, in honor of Black History Month, Minor League Baseball will launch The Nine Program. As such MiLB teams have been asked to reflect upon past players and highlight five standouts. Players do not need to be Hall of Famers, All-Stars or to have even played in the Major

This February, in honor of Black History Month, Minor League Baseball will launch The Nine Program. As such MiLB teams have been asked to reflect upon past players and highlight five standouts.

Players do not need to be Hall of Famers, All-Stars or to have even played in the Major League. These are, instead, individuals who have made an impact in their community or the sport.

With that said, here is a look at five of the best Black players to wear a Salem jersey.

With that said, here is a look at five of the best Black players to wear a Salem jersey.

Mookie Betts

Born Markus Lynn “Mookie” Betts, he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft. On July 9, 2013, he was promoted to Salem where he batted .341 with seven home runs and 39 RBIs. That season, Betts received Offensive Player of the Year and Breakout Player of the Year in the Red Sox organization.

He made his MLB debut on June 29, 2014, for the Red Sox and recorded his first hit that night against Chase Whitley of the New York Yankees. After the season, he moved full time to the outfield where Betts has become a superstar in baseball.

Betts had a breakout year in 2018 when he hit .346 with 32 home runs and 80 RBIs. He was voted American League MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger winner. That year he also won his first World Series title beating his current team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

During his six seasons with the Red Sox, Betts hit .301 with 139 home runs and 470 RBIs. He also collected four Gold Gloves and All-Star appearances, three Silver Sluggers, a batting title, MVP award and World Series championship.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley was drafted in the supplemental first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. Before the start of the 2012 season, he was named to the opening day roster with the Salem Red Sox.

During the season, Bradley hit .359 with three home runs and 34 RBIs through 67 games before being called up. That year, he was named Minor League Defensive Player of the Year in the Red Sox organization.

Bradley made the Opening Day roster in 2013 and made his debut on April 1 against the New York Yankees. He had his first major hit a couple days later, on April 4.

During the 2016 season, he made it to his first and only All-Star Game appearance. Bradley hit .267 with 26 home runs and 87 RBIs.

He was also a member of the 2018 World Series team where he collected the American League Championship Series MVP after hitting nine RBIs in the series. That season, he also won his first and only Gold Glove award.

Bradley returns to Boston for the 2022 season after spending last season in Milwaukee.

*Josh Ockimey *

Ockimey was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 Draft by the Red Sox. He made the Opening Day roster for the Salem Red Sox during the 2017 season.

That year, he played 100 games with the team and had a .275 average with 11 home runs and 63 RBIs. It was his best season in his career, as he was also called up to AA Portland where he hit .272 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

Ockimey has spent all seven seasons in his career within the Red Sox organization. Although he has not been called up to the majors, he has spent his time the last three seasons with the Red Sox AAA organization.

In addition to his on-field accomplishments, Josh has engrained himself in the minor league communities that are part of the Red Sox farm system. This past year, Ockimey was an active member of the WooSox Foundation helping at local food pantries during the holiday season. He uses his platform to educate and raise awareness about social issues.

Dave Parker

Parker was drafted in the 14th round of the 1970 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He spent the 1972 season with the Salem Pirates, which was the inaugural season of the team.

He hit .310 with 22 home runs and 101 RBIs in 135 games. It was the most home runs and RBIs in his four-year minor league career.

During the 1973 season he was called up to Pittsburgh. Parker’s breakout season came in 1975 when he played in double the number of games as the previous year. He hit .308 with 25 home runs and 101 RBIs. That season Parker also finished third in the NL MVP voting.

After finishing in the top three of MVP voting in two of three seasons, he captured it in 1978 hitting .334 with 30 home runs and 117 RBIs. Parker fractured his jaw in late June of that season but decided to wear a face mask the rest of the season instead of sitting out. He received baseball’s first million-dollar-a-year contract after the season.

Parker decided to retire after 19 years in the majors after the 1991 season. He finished hitting .290 with 339 home runs and 1493 RBIs. Parker also had seven All-Star Game appearances, three Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards, two NL batting titles and two World Series titles with the Pirates (1979) and Athletics (1989).

*Tony Womack *

Womack was drafted in the seventh round of the 1991 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made the Opening Day roster of the Salem Buccaneers in 1993.

During that season, Womack played in 72 games and hit .299 with two home runs and 18 RBIs. He made his MLB debut later that season playing in 15 games.

Womack went up and down for a couple years before becoming a mainstay in the majors during the 1997 season. That year he made his first and only All-Star Game appearance hitting .278 with six home runs and 50 RBIs while stealing 60 bases.

Womack was a member of the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks. He famously had the game-tying one-out double against Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the World Series.

During his 13-year MLB career he hit .273 with 36 home runs and 368 RBIs while also stealing 263 bases. Womack led the NL in stolen bases for three consecutive years from 1997 to 1999 and is the Diamondbacks career leader in the category.