Saturday, April 13, 2013

Number of African American Baseball Players is Down – Is This a Problem?

Maybe Not – This is Not 1946

With the release of a new movie on the life of Jackie Robinson there is new reporting on the reduced involvement of African Americans in major league baseball.

Black players from the United States made up 8.5 percent of the 25-man rosters on opening day. The highest percentage of African-Americans playing in the majors, according to new research by Mark Armour from the Society of American Baseball Research, was 19 percent in 1986. . . .
the decline is staggering. In the last generation, baseball has lost more than half its percentage of African-American players. Several teams, including the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, have no African-American players.

Jeff Kowalsky/European Pressphoto Agency
About 8.5 percent of major league players, including the Tigers’ Torii Hunter, left, and Austin Jackson, are African-American.

But the question here is whether or not this is an issue.  Obviously it was an issue until the 1950’s, when the ugly racism of major league baseball finally gave way to decency and equality and removed any barriers to African Americans playing on major league rosters.  But does the percentage of African Americans playing today matter?

As long as there are no prejudicial barriers to signing and playing African Americans, then who cares.  The reduction in the percentage of Blacks on major leagues rosters is maybe just a reflection of cultural differences and freedom of choice.  African Americans are choosing to do other things.  Good for them, do what you want. 

So celebrate the fact that official racism is long gone from sports, read about the heroics of Jackie Robinson and all that is left is question, why did it take so long for America to right this wrong and why did it even happen in the first place.

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