Yesterday, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, a day in which the league remembers April 15th, 1947 as the day the color barrier was broken and non-White athletes were allowed to compete at the major league level. All players wore Jackie’s #42 on their backs and throughout the day clips of Jackie Robinson playing on that day were on every station showing a game. As always the day was a great success.
But now, its April 16th, a less historically significant day for baseball and the teams returned to business as usual. But a question still remains: Is Major League Baseball where it wants to be when it comes to diversity in the game? I understand there is no color barrier any more but that does not mean that African Americans are getting their fair share of playing time. As it stands now in 2012, 65 years after African Americans began to play the game, only 8% of the players in the league are African-American. Only 6% of managers are African American. And the numbers are declining more and more every year
There is much debate about whether or not this is a problem. Some argue that the same opportunities that are available to Latin American players are not made available to African Americans. They argue that the league has outsourced its development programs to Latin America and has made it nearly impossible for African Americans to break into the game. Others argue that the disparity is not about the lack of opportunity, but it can be attributed to choices made by African Americans themselves to pick other sports over baseball to train in.
Is it a problem that African Americans only make up 8% of the player pool? Do you think Major League Baseball should make more of an effort to get a greater percentage of African Americans into the game?