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Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 4/10/13

The amount of African-American players on Major League Baseball opening day rosters this season was historically low. Only 7.7% of the players on all 30 MLB rosters are African-American, which is the lowest percentage since the Boston Red Sox became the final team to integrate their roster in 1959. Bud Selig is hoping to change that in the near future. According to USA Today Sports, Selig is expected to announce the creation of a formal task force this week that will aim to reverse the decline in African-American ballplayers across the league. The project will reportedly consist of a 17-member committee that includes owners, executives and coaches. It is expected to include Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and Chicago White Sox vice president Kenny Williams, among others. Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan said he believes the low number of African-American stars in the MLB today has resulted in a lack of role models for young African-American players. “I never thought I’d see anything like this,” Morgan told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. “But I’ve seen it coming. There, for a long time, there were a lot of African-American players to look up to and emulate, but there’s not enough big stars now to dissuade them from basketball and football.” In 1995, 19% of the players on Major League rosters were African-American. The number was at its peak of 27% in 1975, so you can see how dramatic the drop has been over the last few decades. Four MLB teams opened their season this year without a single African-American player on their roster and 18 teams have two or fewer African-American players currently on their rosters. However, there have been some small signs that the trend could be reversing. Last year, seven African-American players were selected in the first round of the MLB draft, which is the most since 1992. Reds outfielder Derrick Robinson, who was offered a scholarship to play football at Florida in 2006 but chose baseball instead, said the risks involved with playing football could help increase the number of African-American players in baseball. “You look at those kind of things, and that’s why I talk to guys trying to get them to play baseball,” Robinson said. “Some of them say it’s boring, but hey, I love it. It’s so much better on the body and for longevity. Besides, you look at this game now, and it’s changing. The game’s being revolutionized now with speed and defense. We need all of the great athletes we can get.” When you hear stories like this, you realize how big of an issue concussions and head shots have become in the NFL. From a physical standpoint, it seems to make sense that an MLB career could be longer than an NFL career. Whether or not that increases the amount of African-American players on MLB rosters remains to be seen. Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

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3 Comments:
  • Why in the world should the race of a person be on the mind of Bud Selig. If a person is good enough to play in the Major Leagues it shouldn't matter if they are green. Stop trying to be so politically correct Bud. There are much bigger problems in the game. Getting a game that's free of cheaters and drugs would come to mind. Maybe making it so a family could afford to go to more then one or two games a year without taking out a loan. Maybe getting rid of some of the franchise's that have no chance of competing because the talent in the big leagues is so inferior. If more african americans were good enough and more importantly interested in baseball then they would be playing.
  • The issue of the pace of the game is definitely a problem but more fundamental is access. Access as it relates to youngsters in the inner city areas. Baseball needs space so all of the Baseball is played in the burbs where few if any of the "elite" athletes in a particular locality leaving the African American athlete stranded on the outdoor courts and minimal dimension areas of his neighborhood. The RBI program that MLB started some years ago while a noble effort, was a band aid for a broken leg...too little in too few places. Baseball has become sort of a country club sport where the powers that be don't have to go back into the city and their children don't have to be exposed to THAT atmosphere. I've recently attended a few HS Baseball games and have yet to see more that two African American players on any team.
  • The NBA is 77% black and 21% white of which 55% are white americans and 45% from other countries.So what is the NBA doing about this? Over 70% of the NFL players are black. The point is who cares!
    I agree with mbutts41, Bud should be concentrating on real issues and stop his white guilt BS.
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