HOUSTON -- Quinton McCracken, the former Major League player, was promoted last year to Astros director of player personnel, where he assists in player-personnel decisions across all areas, including free-agent acquisitions, trades and amateur signings.
He also evaluates players across all categories, including amateur and professional, both inside and outside the organization, and serves as an adviser to the functional leaders in amateur and professional scouting, player development and international operations.
McCracken, who spent the previous three seasons (2013-15) as the club's director of player development, spent two seasons working in the Arizona Diamondbacks' front office as their assistant director of player development. He played 12 years in the big leagues (1995-2006) with the Rockies, Devil Rays, Twins, D-backs, Mariners and Reds.
McCracken recently offered his thoughts on the importance of Black History Month and remembered the notable achievements of African-Americans in Major League Baseball:
MLB.com: What does observing Black History Month mean to you?
McCracken: Definitely it's a celebration of all the accomplishments and contributions made by African-Americans throughout our society over the years. That's what Black History Month means to me. It means a celebration and recognition of historical feats.
MLB.com: There have been some terrific achievements by African-Americans in the game, led by Jackie Robinson. What stands out for you as far as some of the notable achievements in the game?
McCracken: The one thing that every time I look back and kind of put things in perspective in our sport of baseball is how baseball helped usher in the civil rights movement with Jackie Robinson and his integration of Major League Baseball. That would be the groundwork for bringing on phenomenal change within our country. How sport and society, how it mirrors and feeds off of one another.
MLB.com: Where do you think we are in baseball as far as getting African-Americans involved in not only the front office but also playing at the Major League level?
McCracken: Commissioner [Rob] Manfred, there's a mandate on his part and a conscious effort to improve, not only for African-Americans, but all minorities -- Latino and women. And I think in the upcoming years you'll see drastic improvement as we increase the pipeline and more African-Americans and Latinos and minorities get a chance at some senior positions in baseball. Right now at this point of time, they have one African-American manager [note: two, with the Dodgers' hiring of Dave Roberts] and one African-American GM. There's definitely room for improvement, but we're conscious of it, and the baseball world is very conscious of it, and it's something we'll continue to tackle and address.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.