JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Harold Craw never sought out to make history.
But he’s doing just that each and every time out as the general manager of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
Craw first joined Jacksonville’s minor league baseball franchise in 2015. And that makes him the longest tenured African-American general manger in minor league baseball history.
On Tuesday night, Raines and Ribault hit the field at 121 Financial Ballpark to participate in the Heritage Classic. Both teams donned Jacksonville Red Caps jerseys to celebrate Negro League baseball and Black History Month.
The game wasn’t the only Black history at the ballpark.
The man who helped to organize the event, Craw, is living Black history.
Craw is the only current African-American general manager in minor league baseball, and only the second African-American to ever be named a general manager in the minor leagues.
“Just because you might not be able to step out here and put the uniform on doesn’t mean you can’t step out here and be a positive influence on the game,” Craw said.
Craw, who has been with the Jumbo Shrimp since 2015, said that when he first was named general manager, he did feel extra pressure to succeed. Craw said that he knew if he failed, someone else that looks like him may never get the chance again.
“When the movie, ’42′ premiered, I got the opportunity to go see it with the gentleman I was working with at the time,” he said. “And I was asked ‘do I ever feel like Jackie Robinson.’ And it was the first time I ever sat back and thought, ‘I have to succeed.’ Because if I don’t, no one else will ever get another chance. It was the first time I ever really thought about what the effects of success of failure could be.”
While Craw is the only current African-American general manager, he hopes that he won’t be the last.