The historical significance of Magic Johnson’s latest feat was lost on a few Dodgers, but not Jerry Hairston Jr.
To Hairston, whose grandfather Sam became the first black player to play for the Chicago White Sox in 1951, it’s special to play for the league’s first black (part-)owner in Johnson.
“I think Jackie Robinson would be very proud today,” Hairston said.
A self-described “history buff” –as well as a third-generation major-leaguer — Hairston sees the civil rights movement through a unique lens.
Lakers owner Jerry Buss today joined his star player, Kobe Bryant, by chiming in on Magic Johnson’s purchase of the Dodgers:
“Magic Johnson is probably the most beloved sports figure in Los Angeles history,” Buss said in a statement. “In addition to being a phenomenal success on the court in leading the Lakers to five NBA Championships, he has been a success in everything else he’s become involved with, most notably his spectacular business career and also his educationa
campaign on behalf of HIV awareness. I’d like to congratulate Magic and his partners on their acquisition of the Dodgers and wish them the best of luck.”
On a day when no one wearing a Dodger uniform could avoid a question about the change in ownership, Tommy Lasorda was no exception.
Surrounded by reporters outside the team’s spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona, today, Lasorda addressed his future with the club as a “special advisor” to the owner, as well as his relationship with Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten, two members of the incoming ownership group.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement Wednesday, posted on MLB.com:
“It is extraordinarily exciting for Major League Baseball that Magic Johnson, a beloved figure in Los Angeles and around the world, has entered into an agreement, along with Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, that would make them a part of our national pastime.
“I believe that a man of Magic’s remarkable stature and experience can play an integral role for one of the game’s most historic franchises, in a city where he is revered. Major League Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities, and Magic Johnson is a living embodiment of so many of the ideals that are vital to our game and its future.
“The interest in this franchise and its historic sale price are profound illustrations of the great overall health of our industry. This has been a long, difficult process, and I once again want to thank the great Dodger fans for their loyalty and patience.”
In case you missed it, a group led by Magic Johnson was selected as the next owner of the Dodgers tonight. Here are the preliminary details.
There are some good questions that remain to be answered as of this moment.Why did the deal go down so soon after Major League Baseball owners approved the final three groups of bidders? What were Frank McCourt’s sticking points? What will the team’s next television package look like, and does the incoming ownership group already know?
If these questions haven’t been answered by the time McCourt and the Guggenheim Group sit down for a press conference later this week in Los Angeles (the exact date and location are TBA), they will be asked with Magic Johnson and his cohorts on the dais.
Here are some things we do know: