Tim Anderson Takes Negro Leagues' Legacy To Heart

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(670 The Score) MLB's 100th-year celebration of the Negro Leagues' formation continued Sunday with all players wearing Jackie Robinson's No. 42 patch on their uniforms.

The impact of those leagues was a significant part of baseball history that MLB has slowly been trying to restore since the death of Robinson in 1972. The peak of African-American representation among players in MLB reached almost 18% in the late 1970s. That number has dropped a great deal since then, with African-Americans representing just more than 7% of the MLB player pool now. 

Shortstop Tim Anderson is the only African-American player on the White Sox, and he believes a responsibility comes with that. He hopes to carry the torch of the great African-Americans who played before him and also inspire the next generation.

"It is definitely special to step on the field to honor that today," Anderson said. "The numbers are going down (of African-Americans playing in MLB), but it's still an honor to be a part of this. I like to bring a lot of excitement and a lot of energy to the game. Those guys paved the way for people like me. By me being the only black player on the South Side, it's only right for me to keep that going. I hope to keep inspiring and motivating kids to get into baseball. I just continue to be myself."

Anderson, 27, has embraced the city -- he lives in it year-round -- and the spotlight that has come with his ascendance as a player. He also has a theory for why so few African-Americans reach MLB. It starts at a more grassroots level.

"The game is expensive to play for kids," Anderson said. "It's hard to travel to games when their moms and dads can't take them because they are working. That was my case, but I had friends who had parents that could take us to games. The game is expensive to play, and it requires a lot from parents and kids to get involved and continue their dreams of playing this sport."

While Anderson revels in the history of the game and cherished his visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, he also wants to move the game forward. In his mind, one way to make it more appealing to individuals of all backgrounds is to let players express themselves more freely.

"I am going, to be honest, and with all respect, I think the game is boring," Anderson said. "There isn't a lot of excitement. But I think the game is moving for guys to show more personality. I think it's going the right way, but I will stay in my lane and try to get better myself. I will try to learn as much as I can."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.