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Black History Month: SU baseball player only two-time number one pick in MLB history

1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago Monday, February 26 2024 Feb 26, 2024 February 26, 2024 11:26 AM February 26, 2024 in Black History Month
Source: WBRZ

From holding the Bayou Classic record, back-to-back SWAC Bowling championships, and more, Southern University athletics has a rich history—but not many people know that a 1975 SU graduate holds a very special distinction in Major League Baseball as the only two-time first-overall draft pick.

“I came here to play basketball and found my way out to the baseball field,” said Roger Cador, the famed and now retired SU baseball coach.

Cador is an athletics giant at Southern University.

With his name on the baseball field house and his picture on the stadium as a coach, the Hall of Fame coach remembers his 1970 debut with the Jaguars well.

“Keep all of that in mind that I was playing basketball. I never practiced baseball,” he continued. "The coach was determined that I had to be good and so the rest is history,” so stated.

Through the 1970s, college life was largely still segregated in Baton Rouge, leaving athletes very little choice, but according to Cador, those years were a golden era for HBCU baseball.

“It was the golden era! We live toward the end of the golden era. I said when I called the Ricky Weeks team in 2001, two (2002), three (2003) team where I had 24 kids drafted, I said, 'this is probably as good as it's going to get,'” Cador said.

Decades before Rickie Weeks, the 1971 Jaguar baseball team was loaded when a freshman catcher from Peoria, Illinois joined the team. His name was Danny Goodwin.

“We knew he was a really good player. I mean, he really was a good player. There were no other places for black players to go, so they all congregated at historically Black schools. So we were loaded and Danny fit right in,” he continued.

Goodwin brought lots of attention to the SU baseball program after the 1971 MLB draft. He was major league baseball's first overall pick straight out of high school, turning down a 50-thousand dollar signing bonus with the Chicago White Sox to accept a scholarship to Southern University.

After graduating from Southern four years later, the three-time All-American once again went first overall to the Oakland Athletics.

Nearly 50 years later, Goodwin is the only player in MLB history with that distinction.

After playing professional baseball, Cador returned to Southern as a coach, hoping to pour back into the SU baseball program, working to recruit and once again bring top talent to the Jags.

“People were negative with me telling me, 'your quality of baseball is not that good.' I had to hear that kind of stuff. Rather than get angry, I said 'that's your opinion.' This is a different kind of kid. You are basing it upon some negative opinion that you got and you hadn't seen it, and I tore them down. I kept tearing down buildings.”

From recruiting to fundraising and so much more, Cador has built a legacy of his own with SU baseball, and he's committed to making sure that stories of Black baseball players continue being told.

“I've convinced MLB that our history is mainly oral,” he explained. “I'm still alive with many years that I can tell an accurate story of many of the things that took place. It’s not many of us left that can give an accurate story."

Danny Goodwin retired from baseball in 1986 and he's now living in Atlanta.

Roger Cador retired in 2017. During his time as head coach, 62 players under his direction were drafted to professional baseball and he is now listed in Southern's Hall of Fame. 

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