Major League Baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies will be the first since 1950 to feature no black American players. Astros manager Dusty Baker, who is black American, says this is “not a good look” for baseball. He also stated that “help is on the way” since there are black American players graduating from academies and being drafted into the league.
Some reporters and outside commenters say the lack of black American players in MLB is a severe problem that should be addressed head-on. An obvious question or two should be asked here. Does Major League Baseball actually have a diversity issue? And if there is one, should or could something be done about it? Another question is why does the problem exist if there is an actual problem?
If diversity is about different backgrounds, countries, and skin colors, then MLB does not have a problem. MLB is actually the most diverse major sports league in the United States. The NBA is about 75% black and the overwhelming majority of that, over 95%, is black American. The NFL is 58% black and, again, the overwhelming majority of that is black American. NHL is 78% white, with the majority of that being non-American whites. Major League Baseball is 57.5% white, 31.9% Hispanic, 7.7% Black, and 2.9% Asian/other.
A large portion of MLB’s Hispanic population comes from the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Somehow, these people aren’t counted by those who say MLB has a problem with race. The numbers clearly show just how diverse MLB is compared to other major sports leagues.
There is an explanation, however, as to why there aren’t a lot of black Americans in Major League Baseball. The first reason is the most obvious. Black Americans tend to enjoy playing and watching basketball and football. Most aspiring black athletes would prefer to play basketball over football since it is not a contact sport, therefore the risk of injury is lower. Football also tends to conceal one’s identity due to how far away fans are from the field and also the presence of helmets.
Baseball is not as popular among black Americans because a lot of people, a large space, and equipment are necessary to play. All that’s needed with basketball is one, maybe two people, a basketball, and maybe a basketball court. Some people can play by themselves with a hoop in front of their houses. Basketball is simply easier to access as is football and considered more enjoyable in the majority of black American areas.
Baker Addresses How No U.S.-Born Black Players Expected to Play in World Series – Sports Illustrated
Astros’ Dusty Baker says the 2022 World Series having zero U.S.-born Black players ‘looks bad’ for baseball – CBSSports.com
Mark Berman on Twitter: “Dusty Baker asked about the fact this is the 1st World Series since 1950 without a U.S.-born Black player: “I don’t think that that’s something that baseball should really be proud of. It looks bad. It let’s people know it didn’t take a year or even a decade to get to this point” https://t.co/N4WLPBqdyx” / Twitter
With no Black players in World Series, Astros manager Dusty Baker is ‘ashamed of the game’
Active Roster | Philadelphia Phillies
Active Roster | Houston Astros
How did MLB get to point where no African American players on a World Series roster isn’t a surprise to many?
Baker laments lack of US-born Black players in World Series | AP News
World Series To Begin With No U.S.-Born Black Players On Team Rosters | News | BET
MLB Player Demographics – Routine