- The History of Black Players in MLB
- The Current Percentage of Black Players in MLB
- The Reasons for the Low Percentage of Black Players in MLB
A new study has found that the percentage of black players in Major League Baseball has declined sharply over the past two decades.
The History of Black Players in MLB
The first black player in MLB
The first black player in MLB was Jackie Robinson, who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He made his debut on April 15, 1947. It was not until 1959 that the last all-white team, the Boston Red Sox, integrated their roster.
Today, the percentage of black players in MLB is around 8%. African Americans make up around 13% of the US population. Hispanics make up around 18% of MLB players, but they make up around 17% of the US population.
The integration of MLB
The integration of Major League Baseball (MLB) was a long and difficult process that spanned over 60 years and witnessed numerous obstacles. Although black players had been present in the league since 1884, it was not until 1947 that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and ushered in a new era of baseball. From that point on, more and more black players entered the league each year, eventually reaching a peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s when approximately 27% of all MLB players were black.
Today, the percentage of black MLB players has declined to around 10%. This is partly due to the fact that baseball has lost some of its popularity in inner-city neighborhoods where many black children grow up. Additionally, the rise of other sports such as basketball and football has also siphoned off some of the top athletes who might have otherwise chosen baseball.
The Current Percentage of Black Players in MLB
As of the 2018 season, African-Americans comprise 8.4 percent of Major League Baseball players. Though this number has increased from just 6.7 percent in 1995, it is still well below the percentage of blacks in the U.S. population, which was 13.4 percent in 2010 according to the Census. The question is, why?
The percentage of black players on Opening Day rosters
African Americans represented 7.7 percent of major league Opening Day rosters in 2019, according to a report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. That is down from 8.4 percent in 2018 and the second consecutive year that the percentage has declined. The all-time high was 18 percent in 1986.
The percentage of black players in the minor leagues
The number of black baseball players has been on the decline since 1981. In the last decade, the percentage of African-American players in Major League Baseball (MLB) has hovered around 8 percent. The situation is even worse in the minor leagues, where only 6.7 percent of players are black, according to a recent report by USA Today.
There are a number of reasons for the decline in black baseball players. One is the increased popularity of other sports, such as basketball and football, among young African-Americans. Another is the high cost of equipment and training required to play baseball at a competitive level.
Whatever the reasons for the decline, it is clear that black representation in baseball is far below its peak in the early 1970s, when 27 percent of MLB players were African-American. In order to increase black participation in baseball, a number of initiatives have been launched, including inner-city youth programs and college scholarships for black athletes.
The Reasons for the Low Percentage of Black Players in MLB
The cost of playing baseball
The cost of playing baseball has increased dramatically over the years, pricing many talented players out of the sport. In addition, the number of African American youth playing baseball has declined sharply since the 1990s. According to a 2016 report from USA Today, only 7.1 percent of MLB players are African American, down from 19 percent in 1995.
The high cost of playing baseball is often cited as a major reason for the decline in African American participation. One study found that the cost of youth baseball had increased by nearly 900 percent since 1980, while family incomes had only increased by about 60 percent during that same time period.
With the cost of playing baseball increasingly out of reach for many African American families, it’s no wonder that fewer black players are making it to the major leagues.
The lack of role models
black role models in baseball has been a persistent problem. In 2019, only 7.8% of MLB players were black, according to a USA Today report. That’s down from 8.2% in 2018 and 10% in 2009. The lack of African-American stars is one reason cited for the low number of black players in baseball. Major League Baseball Diversity Initiative’sOrlando Hudson said in 2019: “When you don’t have those role models or African American Latino players to look up to, it definitely has an effect on participation numbers.”
The lack of interest in baseball
The percentage of black players in MLB has been on a steady decline since the early 2000s. In 2002, African Americans made up 27% of MLB rosters. By 2011, that number had dropped to 10%. The reasons for this decline are varied and complex, but one of the biggest factors is the lack of interest in baseball amongst young black athletes.
In a 2008 study by the Pew Research Center, only 1% of African American respondents said that baseball was their favorite sport. This is in stark contrast to basketball (26%) and football (24%). While baseball may not be as flashy or exciting as other sports, it is still an important part of American culture. For young black athletes, choosing to play baseball could be a way to help break down barriers and build understanding between different racial groups.