How a former Las Vegas 51s player is making his stamp in the MLB

Wayne Kirby
Posted at 7:03 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 12:28:30-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — "Every ballpark I go to, they’re like, ‘there goes coach Kirb. He’s around, I can hear his voice! I can hear his voice,'" said Wayne Kirby. "It’s a humbling voice, happy voice, and a joyful voice.”

Dating back to his days on the Las Vegas 51s, Wayne Kirby’s voice is hard to mistake. Same goes for his love of teaching.

The New York Mets' first base coach stated, “I want people to come up to me, young coaches, ‘hey Kirb, how do ya do this?’ how do ya do that?’ and give them wisdom back. Being a teacher, for me, it doesn’t matter what color I am, as long as I am giving back and helping someone else achieve their goals.”

Out of 30 teams in Major League Baseball, only two teams have managers who are black. Kirby takes pride in what he represents.

"I know it from both sides. I was with the Dodgers in 1996 when I was the only black guy on the team. I remember going into Houston and Derek Bell was yelling, ‘Jackie!! Jackie!! You’re the Jackie Robinson of the Dodgers," Kirby shared. "It didn’t bother me, it’s playing baseball.”

As Kirby heads into his 11th season coaching in the majors, he acknowledges the challenges that still come with being a person of color in the game.

Kirby said, “There’s a white and black issue sometime in baseball, sometime in football, throughout life, throughout sports. It ain’t going away. Yeah, we’d like to do something about it, we’d like to put our part into it. I think I put my part into every day by helping whoever needs help.”