In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball are taking a look back at five of the best Black players to suit up for their club.
While some of these standout performers went on to long and illustrious Major League careers, others simply had great Minor League careers or, in some cases, just one incredible season that went down as “a year for the ages.”
Here is a look at five of the best Black baseball players ever to suit up for Delmarva Shorebirds.
Cedric Mullins, 27, started his major league career after being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 13th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Making his MLB debut in 2018, Mullins developed across 4 different minor league teams, including the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2016 where he earned his first Orioles Organizational All-Star nod.
Raised in Snellville, Georgia where he attended Brookside High School, Mullins began his collegiate career at Louisburg College before transferring to Campbell University becoming the first person from Louisburg to make the MLB. After joining the Orioles organization, Mullins played parts of 5 seasons in the minors highlighted by his 2016 season with the Shorebirds where he hit .273 with 14 home runs, 55 RBI, and 30 stolen bases in 124 games.
After Delmarva, Mullins continued his upward trajectory moving up to Double-A and Triple-A the next few seasons bouncing between the Bowie Baysox and the Norfolk Tides. In 2018, Mullins got the call up from the O's making his MLB debut on August 10, 2018.
Mullins debut was against the Red Sox bringing in 3 hits, 2 RBI, drawing a walk, and scoring 3 runs. Mullins' fast start helped make a name for himself becoming the first Oriole in franchise history to earn three hits in his MLB debut and became only one of five players in MLB history to score three or more runs and collect two or more base hits in his debut.
From there, Mullins has continued to perfect is craft which shined through recently during the 2021 campaign. In 2021, Mullins hit for a .291 batting average and .518 slugging percentage turning in an impressive 30/30 season. Mullins dominant season resulted in being named a 2021-22 MLB All-Star as well as earning a Silver Slugger in the outfield.
Mychal Givens’ journey throughout the majors has been one to remember for the Delmarva Shorebirds and Orioles fans alike. Having a high school career that turned heads of MLB scouts, Givens has been racking up accolades throughout his baseball career.
During his high school playing days, Givens dominated winning two All-State selections and was selected to be in the Aflac All-American High School baseball game. Not stopping there, Givens earned the Jackie Robinson Award, given to the nation's best high school baseball player, capping off a stellar high school career as one of the most highly touted prospects in 2009.
Instead of electing to play in college, Givens was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles as the 54th overall selection in the 2009 MLB draft. Entering the Orioles organization, Givens began his professional career as a shortstop with Delmarva before making the transition to the mound where he found his path to the big leagues.
After being brought back up to Delmarva in 2013, this time as a pitcher, Givens pitched 42.2 innings recording 36 strikeouts with a 4.22 ERA. After 5 years in the minors, Givens got the call-up to the Orioles on June 24, 2015 where he tossed a scoreless inning, striking out one batter.
Givens’ role throughout his tenure with the Orioles varied. Being used as a set-up man, relief pitcher, and sometimes a starter, Givens found himself in a utility role being able to fill many gaps in any pitching staff. Traded to Colorado and then Cincinnati at the end of the 2020 season, Givens ended his time with Baltimore notching a 3.32 ERA, 20 saves, and a WHIP rating of 1.137.
Willie Harris continues to be one of the most memorable second basemen to ever play for the Shorebirds spending the better part of two seasons on the Eastern Shore including the 2000 championship season for Delmarva. Harris, recently selected to the Shorebirds silver anniversary team, was a table-setter for the Shorebirds scoring 106 runs in 2000 etching himself into the history books as no Shorebird has come within 15 runs of his single-season runs scored record.
The championship season was just the beginning for Harris. He jumped straight to Double-A Bowie in 2001, hitting .305 with 54 stolen bases in a full season with the Baysox. The O's rewarded him with a September callup on September 2, 2001, and he played nine games with Baltimore to close out the season. His time at Camden Yards was brief, though; the Orioles traded him to the White Sox that offseason.
Harris became a key contributor for the White Sox, playing in 313 games for Chicago over the next four seasons. In 2006, Harris joined the Red Sox as a free agent and bounced around between the Braves, Nationals, Mets, and Reds before calling it quits in 2012 at age 34. He played in 1046 games over his 12 major league seasons, batting .238 with 39 home runs and 212 RBIs and 365 runs scored.
Darnell McDonald was a journeyman in MLB as an outfielder and member of the Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and the Chicago Cubs after beginning his professional baseball career in Delmarva in 1998.
Originally a dual-sport athlete in baseball and football at Cherry Creek High School, McDonald was a two-time baseball All-American and essential contributor to one of the most successful high school sports dynasties in Colorado history. Exiting high school as a highly touted prospect, McDonald was recruited to play both football and baseball before making the decision to focus strictly on baseball.
Drafted late in the first round with the 26th overall pick in the 1997 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles, the Colorado native found his way to Delmarva quickly in his first season in the O's system. Garnering high expectations as a first round draft pick, McDonald want on to have an illustrious career in the minors including a 134 game stint with the Shorebirds that fans surely will remember.
With Delmarva in 1998 after just 4 games in Frederick to start the year, McDonald was a force at the plate and on the bases. In that season alone, McDonald slugged for a .261 average and stole 35 bases which ended up being a professional career high. The success in Delmarva was just the beginning as McDonald would then quickly work his way up through the Orioles farm system on his journey to Baltimore.
In 2003, McDonald earned the call up to Triple-A Affiliate before eventually punching his ticket to the big leagues making his Major League Baseball debut on April 30, 2004. McDonald ended his career in Baltimore playing in just 17 games, before joining various other teams with his most notable seasons with the '09 Cincinnati Reds and '10 Boston Red Sox.
TIM RAINES JR.
Tim Raines Jr. is a name that stands out and is by far one of the most recognized players from his time with the Delmarva Shorebirds. Raines, son of MLB Hall Of Famer Tim Raines, attended Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida playing center field and entering the prospect circuit as a very promising player.
The Baltimore Orioles selected Raines in the 6th round pick, 189th overall, in the 1998 MLB draft. Coming to Delmarva in 1999, Raines quickly made a name for himself playing in 117 games collecting 103 hits with 34 extra-base hits. From there Raines quickly moved his way up through the minor league ranks making his MLB debut on October 1st, 2001.
On October 4th, 2001, Tim Raines Junior and Tim Raines Senior would become just the second father-son duo to play together in MLB history (first being Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr.). Raines did not play for Baltimore in 2002 but returned for another two seasons in ‘03. In three total seasons for the O’s, Raines hit .213 with seven RBI and no home runs in 75 total games.