Bud Selig reportedly working to increase number of African-American players in MLB

The number 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.”

Four MLB teams — the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers — opened their season this year without a single African-American player on their roster. 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 number of African-American players on MLB rosters remains to be seen.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Around The Web

  • http://twitter.com/wine_man1 Chi-man 67

    well since the ‘thug-life” is better in the “hoops” world good luck. It also doesn’t help the fact that the Latin American players out Hustle and work harder than their AA team-mates.

  • John Wimberly

    And, why exactly is this a problem?? What percentage of a team should be represented by african americans? This is so ridiculous. Does the NBA need a task force to come up with ideas to attact more whites to the game? Race, race, race – that’s all we f’n hear about. i’m sick of it. And it’s usually just about catering to one race in particular.

  • John Wimberly

    Oh, and while we are at it – we should come up with a task force to help figure out ways to get the under-represented races more involved in the violent crimes game. It’s clearly unfair right now. Blacks are only 13% of the US population, but get to commit 70% of the violent crimes. We need to encourage these other races to get more involved.

  • RebelFlag

    Why does b/b worry about the color of the game when ump’s miss more calls that they make correctly?

  • tafnut

    I heard the NHL is creating task force to get more Asians and Latinos into the sport. Too many Canadians and northern Europeans dominate.

  • http://twitter.com/rconlan21 Ray Conlan

    so stupid

  • http://twitter.com/rconlan21 Ray Conlan

    they need a task force to evalate the prejudice towards 48 yr old short white men who want to play in the MLB. Otherwise the MLB consists of bigots, age discriminators, and reverse racists. It is not FAIR that I am not allowed to play for an MLB team.

  • CincinnatiRIck

    So, we can expect the NBA to be instituting a similar program to bring the Caucasian representation on its teams up to where the statistics say it should be? I think we also have a problem with underrepresentation of short people.
    Shouldn’t all sports teams also be at least 50% female? This discrimination has just got to stop!

  • Bill

    Is the NBA going to try and get more white players?

  • Thomas Wynne

    great…now we need affirmative action in baseball…

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.rivera.14 Eric Rivera

    The effort should be made to attract players interested in the catching position. That’s a real situation, not racial diversity. Quality catchers are at a premium. The political correctness of base ball is taking away from the game. And don’t get me started on ‘when will the first gay player come out?”. Not a part of the game!!!

  • JJ

    Who the heck cares? Is the NBA concerned that the vast majority of its
    players are black? Would MLB care if the majority of its players were
    black? Everything today is about color in this country especially the
    dark kind. MLB is doing just fine. Just shut up and count your profits.

  • JJ

    Welcome to the United States of Africa.

  • disqus_9i0efW2W4i

    I think white people should have baseball so we can all sit back and watch third world countries made up of minorities beat your favorite white superstars in world competition. The only reason we haven’t won the world cup for soccer is because we don’t have enough minorities. Don’t hate, appreciate the facts.

  • Dave2o

    Look in the stands the afro americans dont buy tickets! What the hell is this country going to!…No wonder theres attitude…Press 1 for Spanish Press 2 For Afro American…you do know where the 2 is? what ever happened to press 1 for English first~ Don`t you just get so sick of this this Racist crap when someone yells Race~ ….Oh I did forget MLK DAY…the mAn writes one speech and they have a Holiday in Jan….Did you know theyre crying about that now that his Holiday is a Cold Month~ OMG get a life people get a job get off of welfare and your Obama phones….Our president has created more race issues than ever before ….

  • http://www.facebook.com/len.ferreri Len Ferreri

    i think that white people should come up with a new sports…building barges back to africa. then we could watch as blacks fight to get back to the dark continent , so people with the same skin color can work and support those with the sameskin color who don’t. don’t hate, appreciate the facts.