Young: Robinson 'paved the way for us to put on this uniform'

Rockies coaches eye rise to managerial ranks

Young: Robinson 'paved the way for us to put on this uniform'

SAN FRANCISCO -- For Wednesday night's Rockies-Giants game on Jackie Robinson Day, the Rockies featured two African-American coaches, Eric Young at first base and Stu Cole at third base.

On a day when every player in the game wore Jackie Robinson's No. 42 to commemorate the end of the color barrier in 1947, Young and Cole were in positions to offer examples of opportunities the game offers. Both could become candidates for Major League managerial jobs, as could Triple-A Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill.

The managerial number has dropped to one, the Mariners' Lloyd McClendon. But as long as coaches are plying their trade, they're in position to reach their dreams while at the same time inspiring players to follow their path.

"You see first-base coaches and third-base coaches," Young said. "We're still trying to work our way around to producing more African-American managers. Hopefully, the numbers will increase. We have seen it possible. Guys like Dusty Baker and Lloyd McClendon, Ron Washington have given us a lot of hope that one day we can be managers.

"Jackie paved the way for us to put on this uniform, and Frank Robinson paved the way for managers in my lifetime. They've given me hope that one day I can be a manager."

Cole, who is in his 20th year in the Rockies' system -- with managing stints at the Class A, Double-A and Triple-A levels -- said love for the game and a responsibility to inspire others are driving forces.

"You see guys like Ellis Burks [a former Rockies star now working as a special front-office assistant] still want to be around the game," Cole said. "You look around and see guys like Eric Davis. They still want to give back to the game. They still want to give young people their advice and experiences over so many years at the Major League level to help younger people accomplish their goals as well."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.