All Articles Tagged "african americans and baseball"
After Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball, African-Americans continued to excel in the field for many years — but are dwindling in numbers today. What was once America’s greatest pastime spawned Hall of Famers like Roy Campanella, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, plus many other great African-American legends. But despite this rich history, black youth today are focused more on the glitzy trappings of football and basketball. Their synergies with hip-hop have led young African-Americans away from baseball, known for its more conservative crowd. This decline in interest has contributed to the fact that there are fewer black American baseball players than ever. The Boston Globe reports:
We’re always a bit surprised when a young baseball prospect turns out to be African-American.
“It hurts, it really does, to see the decline of the sport,’’ says San Diego Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson, one of the dwindling number of African-American major league players. “To think that our baseball ancestors put up such great numbers and stood for so much and how much they went through in this great game.’’
Once upon a time, baseball was the city game, for all races. There was always a field or lot somewhere. Playing baseball was a standard way of life. It can easily be argued that, in the first 50 or 60 years of the 20th century, baseball was, by far, the most popular sport for African-Americans.
“I’ve had kids come up to me and ask why I’m playing that white man’s game,’’ sighs Hudson.
Hudson works to reverse this trend through his program Around the Mound, which promotes baseball to inner city youth. But the competition to gain interest in baseball’s slow-paced game is rough. Training for baseball emphasizes slow growth over the exciting expression of raw talent witnessed in the NBA. African-American kids are enchanted by the prospect of breaking into basketball right out of high school using innate skills. And very few baseball luminaries receive the massive contracts offered to the brightest of the NFL. By comparison the understated life of a baseball player seems unappealing.
But playing baseball over more flashy sports has it’s advantages. According to Hudson, “We make the most money,” and the sport is far less damaging to the body. The overall quality of life for the players is better, as they receive daily perks like better food in their club houses. Ironically, baseball is less glamorous, but is considered the preferred deal both financially and personally by professional athletes. It would be a shame for black American players to miss out.
Worse than African-American athletes turning down a better way of life would be seeing our pioneering legacy in baseball die. Black Americans made inroads into the sport so that players who are Dominican or Asian would not have to face the same racial barriers we did. Following in the footsteps of African-American greats who battled their way to the mound is an opportunity our youth are entitled to enjoy. Baseball is not “the white man’s game.” We paid the price to make it ours, too.
Baseball may have received an A for racial diversity in hiring, but they really should have received a C.
An annual study conducted by Richard Lapchick’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida, showed that the gender and racial hiring practices have declined “slightly,” while the role of women and minorities in baseball has been “consistent.”
But why do the numbers look so low?
Black players accounted for 8.5 percent of players at the start of the season, compared to 10 percent at the beginning of last year. This is the lowest level since 2007.
Latino players also dropped from 28.4 percent to 27 percent, the lowest level since 1999.
There has also been a drop in black and Latino managers, from 10 percent to six percent. Black and Latino coaches went from 31 percent to 29 percent.
On the top team executive level, the percentage is non-existent as no blacks fill any of those percentages.
“Jackie Robinson’s dream was to see more African-Americans playing, coaching and in the front office,” Lapchick said to the Associated Press.
Although there are the obvious changes to the game, from the looks of it there’s much more work that needs to be done.
(MLB)–The Civil Rights Game is not only changing settings, it’s getting bigger. Now approaching its fifth installment, the event has moved from two years in Memphis, Tenn., to two years in Cincinnati, to two years in Atlanta beginning this season. And for the 2011 version, the number of activity-filled days leading up has grown from two to four. Major League Baseball announced Thursday that the 2011 Civil Rights Game will be a Sunday afternoon affair on May 15, when the Braves host the Phillies — a team with two of the game’s most premier African-American players, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard — at Turner Field.
(mlb.com) — Jimmie Lee Solomon knows all about the dwindling number of African Americans in baseball. He acknowledges that it’s a concern, he understands that it could be a while before change in the opposite direction is noticeable and he believes that Major League Baseball is doing everything it can to reverse the trend. But he is also quick to point out an obvious yet often-ignored fact. ”Baseball is more diverse than ever,” said Solomon, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball development. “Forty percent of our players are from diverse backgrounds, from non-Caucasian backgrounds. So that’s a good thing. But when the number of African Americans is declining, and you have areas from our country that are either underserved or unserved, now that is a problem.”