The Declining Share of African-American Baseball Players, Part 2

Superstars like Barry Bonds didn't necessarily get young African-Americans onto the diamond (via rocor).

Superstars like Barry Bonds didn’t necessarily get young African-Americans onto the diamond (via rocor).

Over time, warm weather and income have become useful ingredients for the development of baseball players. As I showed yesterday and in March, regions with warmer weather have created more baseball players in recent decades than they had historically, as have counties with higher income.

Importantly, the combined effect of weather and income has been extremely potent for creating opportunities for young players to play year round. These development opportunities have escaped potential players from poorer regions. Yesterday, I used data from Mark Armour and Dan Levitt on baseball player races over the last few decades to demonstrate that this effect has been geographically widespread. Historically black areas that have produced many ballplayers haven’t created as many players in recent years; wealthier and less diverse counties have produced more.

African-Americans’ Interest in Major League Baseball

Many people commenting on the March article said they believed that there were fewer black major leaguers because the African-American young people had simply become more interested in other sports, such as football and basketball. Based on J.C. Bradbury’s study showing that the share of black players in the NFL and NBA had not increased over time, I was skeptical. If black children were becoming more interested in those sports, there would be more black players in them over time.

However, there is another way to study this by using the data I have gathered in these studies on race in baseball. If the argument is that black children are less interested in baseball because they do not see as many black stars as in other sports, then perhaps the locations where there have been more prominent black superstars would not have seen the same declines. We will see below that this is not the case.

The following table lists the top black players by WAR who played at some point during the 1985-99 seasons, with the teams where they produced at least 10 WAR during those seasons. I selected those years because I thought they would match pretty well with the 1980-89 born players, which was the cohort with the sharpest decline in black players.

Top African-American Players for Children of the ’80s
Name WAR Teams where they had at least 10 WAR (Years)
Barry Bonds 164.1 San Francisco (93-07), Pittsburgh (86-92)
Rickey Henderson 106.2 Oakland (79-83, 89-93, 94-95, 98), Yankees (85-89)
Ken Griffey Jr. 77.4 Seattle (89-99, 09-10), Cincinnati (00-08)
Derek Jeter 73.7 Yankees (95-14)
Frank Thomas 72.4 White Sox (90-05)
Eddie Murray 72 Baltimore (77-88, 95)
Lou Whitaker 68.1 Detroit (78-95)
Barry Larkin 67.7 Cincinnati (86-04)
Ozzie Smith 67.6 St. Louis (84-96)
Tim Raines 66.4 Montreal (79-90), White Sox (91-95)
Tony Gwynn 65 San Diego (82-01)
Gary Sheffield 62.5 Florida (93-98), Dodgers (98-01), Atlanta (02-03), Yankees (04-06)
Kenny Lofton 62.2 Cleveland (92-01)
Willie Randolph 62.1 Yankees (76-88)
Dave Winfield 59.9 Yankees (81-88)
Andre Dawson 59.5 Montreal (76-86), Cubs (87-92)
Dwight Gooden 59.2 Mets (84-94)
Fred McGriff 57.2 Toronto (86-90), Atlanta (93-97), San Diego (91-93), Tampa Bay (98-01, 04)
Chet Lemon 52 Detroit (82-90)
Jim Rice 50.8 Boston (74-89)
Tony Phillips 46.6 Detroit (90-94), Oakland (82-89, 98)
Kirby Puckett 44.9 Minnesota (84-95)
Ellis Burks 44.7 Boston (87-92, 04), Colorado (94-98)
Torii Hunter 42.5 Minnesota (97-07), Angels (08-12)
Darryl Strawberry 41.5 Mets (83-90)
Albert Belle 41 Cleveland (89-96)
David Justice 40.4 Atlanta (89-96), Cleveland (97-00)

The top two players on the list played large shares of their careers in the Bay Area—Rickey Henderson and Barry Bonds. If the decline in black players in the 1980s were due to black youths not rooting for black players growing up, then you would expect that this would not have been as extreme in the Bay Area. However, the number of black players born in the Bay Area has followed a similar trend as the rest of the nation: eight born in the 1940s, 13 born in the 1950s, 14 born in the 1960s, 11 born in the 1970s, and just seven born in the 1980s.

The changes in California outside the Bay Area do not appear to be based much on the race of local stars to root for, either. The decline in Southern California has been similar to the Bay Area, with a rapid ascent from 15 black players born in the 1940s, 37 in the 1950s, 39 in the 1960s, 22 born in the 1970s, and then just 14 born in the 1980s. Without hometown stars like Rickey Henderson and Barry Bonds—but with similar trends in income inequality—the effects look similar in both areas.

Even within Southern California counties, the trends do not seem to be based on black youths having a black superstar player to root for. For each team that I looked at, I checked the top five position players by WAR from 1985-99 and the top three pitchers. For the Dodgers, this included no black players. But the Padres’ best hitter was Black—Tony Gwynn. He was by far the most prominent Padres player. But the decline in San Diego County was even more prominent than the rest of Southern California, going from eight black players born in the 1960s, down to two in the 1970s and another two in the 1980s.  Although San Diego County did continue to produce players, and actually produced more in the 1970s and 1980s than in the 1960s, this was increase was only among white and Latino players.

Across the country the patterns are similar. In colder areas, opportunities have declined on a relative basis but more so for poorer counties. In warmer areas, opportunities have expanded but mainly for richer counties. California was one state from which more black players were appearing in the majors than would be expected by population alone, but many other states in the southern part of the country went from developing black players at a rate proportional to their share of the population to  half the rate you would expect.

If interest in the sport were based on having black superstars on local teams, states in the South that have historically rooted for the Rangers and Astros would probably have experienced a sharper decline than states that have historically leaned toward  the Braves. Many of the Braves’ most prominent hitters during 1985-99 were black, including David Justice, Ron Gant, Lonnie Smith and Fred McGriff—not to mention a legacy that includes Hank Aaron.  Fewer Rangers and Athletics have been black. Yet we see similar trends in declining black players.

Two tables below summarize some relevant states to study. The first shows those states where the expected number of black players was at least 10  in one of the five decades studied. I have added the teams that local fans would have been most likely to root for. The second lists the five position players with the highest WAR and the three pitchers with the highest WAR from each of the teams on the list. African-American players are underlined (e.g. Andruw Jones is not underlined).

Total African-American Players Relative to Share of State Population
State Team(s) with most fans E(B) 40s B 40s E(B) 50s B 50s E(B) 60s B 60s E(B) 70s B 70s E(B) 80s B 80s
NY Yankees, Mets 3 4 7 5 12 14 12 5 4
FL Now: Marlins, Rays; Historically: Braves 7 5 10 6 21 22 21 10 22 13
GA Braves 4 4 8 6 10 13 14 11 13 4
AL Braves 8 19 12 15 7 8 10 12 5 4
MS Braves 7 6 10 11 8 9 15 12 8 7
TX Rangers, Astros 7 12 11 17 15 17 14 12 15 8
LA Astros, Rangers, Braves 9 16 7 12 13 14 9 1 7 2
IL Cubs, White Sox 4 3 7 7 12 12 15 8 6 3
CA Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Athletics, Angels 8 28 22 63 28 60 29 43 20 23
Select States’ Top Players for Children of the ’80s to Watch
Team Top 5 Position Players ’85-’99 Top 3 Pitchers ’85-’99
Dodgers Mike Piazza, Mike Scioscia, Raul Mondesi, Eric Karros, Pedro Guerrero Orel Hershiser, Ramon Martinez, Fernando Valenzuela
Angels Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, Wally Joyner, Brian Downing, Chili Davis Chuck Finley, Mark Langston, Mike Witt
Padres Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti, Benito Santiago, Bip Roberts, Roberto Alomar Andy Benes, Andy Ashby, Bruce Hurst
Giants Barry Bonds, Will Clark, Matt Williams, Robby Thompson, Kevin Mitchell John Burkett, Scott Garrelts, Mike Krukow
Athletics Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Terry Steinbach, Dave Henderson Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, Mike Moore
Rangers Ivan Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Ruben Sierra, Julio Franco Kevin Brown, Nolan Ryan, Bobby Witt
Astros Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Bill Doran, Glenn Davis, Kevin Bass Shane Reynolds, Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan
Braves Chipper Jones, David Justice, Jeff Blauser, Dale Murphy, Andruw Jones* John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Cubs Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa, Andre Dawson, Rick Wilkins Greg Maddux, Rick Sutcliffe, Frank Castillo
White Sox Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura, Carlton Fisk, Lance Johnson, Harold Baines Jack McDowell, Alex Fernandez, Wilson Alvarez
Yankees Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams, Rickey Henderson, Paul O’Neill, Derek Jeter Andy Pettitte, David Cone, Jimmy Key
Mets Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson, John Olerud, Keith Hernandez, Dave Magadan Dwight Gooden, Sid Fernandez, David Cone

*Next three highest WAR were Ron Gant, Lonnie Smith, and Fred McGriff, all of whom are American American.

Team loyalty lists come from this map, and article on ages of fans is here.

As mentioned above, the patterns in California do not seem to suggest relatively slower declines in black players in the Bay Area as the prominence of star players for the Athletics and Giants might suggest. Similarly, the declines in Texas and Louisiana, where fans would have rooted for mainly white and Latino star players on the Rangers and Astros, look very similar to those in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama, where fans would have rooted for many Black players on Braves teams.

Retroactive Review: Ace
Looking back at some of Justin Verlander's most interesting moments.

Two colder regions of the country where there could have been many black players are Chicago and New York. Yankees fans have been able to root for Derek Jeter and Rickey Henderson, and Mets fans have had Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden leading the charge—and earning rings. Although fewer Cubs hitters have been black, three of the top five White Sox hitters have been, including the most prominent, Frank Thomas. However, both New York and Illinois have experienced rapid declines in black players, even more than total players have declined.

Overall, the geographical trends in players do not seem to be based on black children choosing baseball only when they see local stars. The trends are consistently based on income and weather, and the variation in the race of star players across teams does not seem to follow any trend that relates to where black players have been born.

At a national level, it is even harder to justify a claim that black players have not been very prominent in baseball. The NBA certainly had Michael Jordan, but the best baseball players have almost all been black at well until recent years. The top position player by WAR in the 1960s was Willie Mays, in the 1970s it was Joe Morgan, in the 1980s it was Rickey Henderson, and in the 1990s it was Barry Bonds. Even in the 2000s, it was Alex Rodriguez. The top three position players by WAR since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier have been Barry Bonds, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. There simply is no evidence that Black children born in the 1970s and 1980s would not have seen black superstars. It seems far more likely that income and weather explain the trend we have observed.

Summary

None of this means that changing the trend is easy. Certainly a preference or bias against baseball among black youths would make it difficult to grow the share of black players. But opportunity is a hard problem to solve as well. Given the same access to traveling teams and equipment, there would probably have been many more black players born in the 1970s and especially in the 1980s, but how to provide this to everyone is not clear. Identifying talented youth might be the best step toward efficient expenditures, but it would still require Major League Baseball or some other funding source to step in and help.

Another common argument to explain the decline in black players is that there are far fewer college scholarships for baseball than for football or basketball. This is true, but more of a complement to the opportunity-based pattern I have documented than a substitute for it. However, the NFL and NBA also prohibit high school students from playing professionally immediately after graduation. So, this factor could push young people toward baseball, rather than away from it. The net effects are not clear. Solving the scholarship issue is difficult as well: More football and basketball scholarships are available because these sports generate much more revenue for colleges.

Opportunity matters. Solving the problem is more complicated than identifying it, but what these articles show is that creating opportunities for talented youth is essential. Outside of issues of fairness and equality, it should matter to baseball fans that we get the best product possible on the field. There is a reason that major league baseball is more popular than college baseball — it has to do with talent level. Baseball is better and more exciting because of expanded opportunities for Latin Americans. Creating opportunities for disadvantaged youth in America to grow as ballplayers in the way that wealthier families have enabled their children would raise the major league talent level even further.

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Matt writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times, and models arbitration salaries for MLB Trade Rumors. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_Swa.
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*****
Guest
*****
Hmm, I actually don’t look at it as a decline, but as baseball slowly converges on the expected demographics of the United States. For instance, African Americans are approximately 12% of the US population, and Americans are approximately 70% of the MLB, thus this means that the 8% of MLB players who are African American are an expected amount due to demographics. Baseball is a diverse sport, you have tall guys, short guys (Pedroia), thin guys (Ichiro), fat guys (Prince Fielder), and so on. I would say that due to the rise of sabermetrics and the rationalization of the sport,… Read more »
Matt Swartz
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Matt Swartz
That would make sense if not for the fact that baseball players are disproportionately from areas with warm weather, areas with an above average representation of African-Americans. The tables show that relative to what you would expect based on state birth rates by race, nearly every state has fewer African-American players than it would by chance. Given how many players are from Georgia, for example, you would expect more African-American players than there are in the league. The disconnect is income– warm states tend to favor those with higher incomes, so you don’t get the share of African-American players you… Read more »
bucdaddy
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bucdaddy
“Based on J.C. Bradbury’s study showing that the share of black players in the NFL and NBA had not increased over time, I was skeptical. If black children were becoming more interested in those sports, there would be more black players in them over time.” Maybe football and basketball have reached a saturation point. How much blacker can, for instance, the NBA get? “Its not African Americans who are underrepresented in baseball, but they are overrepresented in other sports.” I bring it back to this: What physical characteristics and skills do the three major sports require? A 7-foot-1 guy is… Read more »
Matt Swartz
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Matt Swartz

“Maybe football and basketball have reached a saturation point. How much blacker can, for instance, the NBA get?”

The NBA is only 75% Black, not 100%. If there was a disproportionate shift in racial preferences for basketball, that would have probably have gone up. And I’m sure if there were travel leagues for basketball that disproportionately benefited Black children like there are for baseball that disproportionately benefited white children, and these travel leagues dominated the landscape of showcasing for NBA teams like they do for MLB teams, it probably would go above 75%.

bucdaddy
Guest
bucdaddy
“travel leagues for basketball that disproportionately benefited Black children” Isn’t that AAU ball? Those tournaments aren’t showcases for the NBA because they’re showcases for the colleges, which are in turn showcases for the NBA. What I kind of meant about the saturation point: If American blacks represent just a small proportion of MLB players, and then that percentage goes up a few ticks, that’s a big increase. If the NBA is 75 percent black and the percentage goes up the same few ticks, it’s meh. I’ll just toss this out: It seems like the 25% white representation in the NBA… Read more »
Chris Coh
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Chris Coh
Why is this a problem? Can anyone honestly say that there is a legitimate barrier holding African American children back from the baseball diamond? First of all, data shows that the MLB as a league, is actually the most open and tolerant in terms of race. The MLB lacks any evidence of pay premium to white players, black players have actually become more likely to be voted in to the All-Star game than their white counterparts, and there is no evidence of race discrimination in the HOF vote. Evidence of discrimination in terms of job promotion is the least of… Read more »
GW
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GW

There were some interesting comments along these lines following Matt’s original piece in March. And count me among those who would be interested in participation data at lower levels, as someone who has lived in a predominantly African-American neighborhood and seen the all-encompassing reach of basketball.

hopbitters
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hopbitters

Has anyone investigated if there’s a bias in the marketing of baseball vs other sports?

Tyler
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Tyler

That’s what I was wondering. Major League Baseball seems to position itself as the old-school, overly patriotic game and maybe that strategy doesn’t play quite as well in the African-American community.

I’m also curious about who the competing NFL or NBA stars for each city would be during the same time frame. For instance, Ricky Henderson and Barry Bonds were also competing with Jerry Rice and Tim Brown in the NFL.

Marc Schneider
Guest
Marc Schneider
Have you ever seen the way the NFL markets itself? How much more can you wrap yourself in the flag than the NFL? I understand your point, though, that baseball is perceived, and, to some extent, markets itself as a sport for traditional America. On the other hand, if you look at it another way, football is the game that seems to focus on those “traditional” American values. Moreover, the NFL has made a conscious effort to downplay things that might appeal to a non-middle white populuation, such as end zone celebrations, non-standard uniforms, etc. Several years ago, the NFL… Read more »
Philip
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Philip

“Baseball seems to position itself as the old-school, overly patriotic game and maybe that strategy doesn’t play quite as well in the African-American community.”

Patriotism doesn’t play well in the African-American community?

That’s an odd thing to say. Especially considering that African-Americans (13% of the population) make up about 18% of those in uniform defending this country.

GW
Guest
GW

Eh… Do you really think that African-American kids are able to tell that Dominican players with predominant West African ancestry are not “black”? Especially in the days before they had twitter accounts, and even moreso before they were constantly interviewed on Sportscenter? Seems like a pretty dubious premise.

Torii Hunter has complained in the past that most people don’t even realize this shift has taken place. I think that’s probably true for the casual fan.

Dominique
Guest
Dominique

Matt,

Is there some tie to a sport’s public popularity and the income of the families of kids that play the sport? I’m just spit-balling, but for a sport like, say, hockey, or lacrosse, without a lot of popularity behind the sport there’s less civic support for the sport, so it leans more on the incomes of the participants to fund its operation? Fewer sponsors for youth leagues mean more families have to fund the leagues themselves, thus requiring more high income families to make leagues viable?

bucdaddy
Guest
bucdaddy
It may be worth noting that the trends in team movement and ballpark construction that started in the 1950s were to move MLB parks out of urban areas easily accessible even to poor folks (white and black) who could scrape together the price of a ticket and walk to the park, and into the white suburbs (not so accessible, and increasingly more expensive, and perhaps a little hostile). Basketball, meanwhile, never left the cities. I don’t mean pro basketball, but places where kids could go and see neighborhood heroes, all those playground legends who were maybe just a tick or… Read more »
Satoshi Nakamoto
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Satoshi Nakamoto
The author says that preference for basketball and football can’t be the answer because the ratio of black pros in those sports didn’t spike. This might be an incorrect conclusion. The black kids might indeed have shifted towards basketball and football. Why didn’t the ratio of blacks in the NBA/NFL significantly increase? Well, just because a ton more black kids shifted away from baseball doesn’t necessarily mean that a matching increase will occur at the pro level. A lot more black kids might have started playing basketball and football, but that simply left a much larger number that didn’t make… Read more »
Burly
Guest
To show that income and year-round play (good weather) are the main factors rather than a loss of interest in baseball by young African Americans, you would have to show that the number of African American players on little league and high school teams has not declined from the 1960’s through the present. If the same numbers of African American youths are still playing the game relative to the number of white youths playing the game, but higher percentages of white high school players are being drafted out of high school or being recruited to college programs and lower percentages… Read more »
james wilson
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james wilson

“Creating opportunities for disadvantaged youth in America to grow as ballplayers…”

Tripe. Patronizing tripe. Encouraging a kid, any kid, to fritter his life away chasing a career in professional sports reveals how little you think of them. One chance in a hundred, if he’s really good.

The great black American love of baseball ended with integration. With basketball and football, it began with integration. For whatever reason, or no reason at all. Stop wringing your hands, white boy. Black people don’t care. Dominicans don’t care. Buy a dog.

Burly
Guest
If wealth is as important a factor as claimed, why are we seeing more and more Latin players from humble origins in the MLB system? Further, Latin players in the game are still disproportionately dark skinned, which generally means that they are coming from less economically privileged segments of their home countries. If wealth were so important, wouldn’t we also be seeing Latin players getting lighter skinned, since income and racial disparities are even greater in countries like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Columbia, and Venezuela than they are in the U.S? Shouldn’t the children of the wealthy be… Read more »
Philip
Guest
Philip

Burly wrote: “If wealth were so important, wouldn’t we also be seeing Latin players getting lighter skinned, since income and racial disparities are even greater in countries like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Columbia, and Venezuela than they are in the U.S?”

I would hope the study correctly assigned players from Puerto Rico as being U.S.-born.

deathsinger
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deathsinger

Is the trend the same for hitters and pitchers?

alex
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alex
As a 47 year old African American, I would like to offer my insight into this discussion. I think this has to a lot to with many African American children growing up in single parent households. With the mother being the only parent at home. When I was growing up in the 1970’s, my dad use to take me and my brother to MANY games at Wrigley Field. Chicago Cubs were the “home” team in our house. My dad got me involved, interested, and still a big baseball fan. Today’s boys may not have that same expirence…so maybe they are… Read more »
adam smith
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adam smith
You hit it in your penultimate paragraph. Have you looked at the number of players who are entering professional baseball through colleges vs those entering right out of high school over the course of time? All speculation on my part, I’m too lazy to do the research, but my guess is that an increase in college players over the years (and subsequent decrease in the number of high school players drafted and signed,) would explain some of the decline in African American professional baseball players. It would also explain why wealthier counties are producing more players. The climate factor is… Read more »
lakeguy2302
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lakeguy2302
I fail to see any relevance in any of this information…who really cares about the demographics of a sport exactly matching the demographics of the population…its ludicrous to even think that scenario is even possible. It isn’t, it never has been and it never will be. Leagues take the best players regardless of their ethnic ancestry..maybe some black kids just aren’t interested in athletics because like many kids I know, they are completely turned off to sports because of the piss poor examples of human beings many athletes, regardless of race are. This whole discussion is absolutely insipid and is… Read more »
Marc Schneider
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Marc Schneider
The Braves situation is a chicken-and-egg scenario. Atlanta is extremely spread out and most of the Braves fans-at least according to the team’s accounts-come from the northern suburbs and, obviously, are white. Atlanta’s public transportation-like most southern cities-is not particularly good and traffic is terrible, making it difficult to get to the stadium from the suburbs and attendence has been relatively weak for years. Whatever the issues involved, it’s not really the team’s fault that the fans do not come from the inner city. (This is ignoring the issue of public funding for ballparks in the first place.) Did the… Read more »
Steely Glint
Guest
Steely Glint

What does it matter why any ethnic group is under- or over-represented in any activity? No activity will ever represent a perfect cross-section of America; people can and do make choices. Some of them will seem puzzling from the outside, but the choices are nonetheless valid.

Are there any MLB-constructed barriers to the entry of any particular race or ethnicity? There are certainly not, so the MLB is not at fault here. Shall we now attempt to force uncondtitional racial quotas on the situation, or shall we endorse freedom of choice for all?

The correct answer is obvious.

Marc Schneider
Guest
Marc Schneider
In fairness, the issue is not racial quotas; the issue is marketing the game to a larger segment of the population. MLB should be concerned from a business standpoint if a significant segment of the population is not interested in the game. And, to the extent that participation mirrors interest, the declining numbers of African-American players is problematic. (That’s different than saying you need African-American players to increase interest among the African-American community. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. But, the more interest in the game, you would expect greater participation.) That includes young people as well as the demographics… Read more »
Steely Glint
Guest
Steely Glint
This racial logic would indicate that we should also try to increase the number of white players in the NBA so as keep the white audience interested – which is, of course, kind of silly on the face of it. I want the best athletes who want to play to be the ones playing pro sports. And, like many if not most people, I don’t care about their color or ethnicity, just that they are the best available. Like Martin Luther King, I long for the day when everyone is judged by their accomplishments and their capabilities and not the… Read more »
Marc Schneider
Guest
Marc Schneider

No one is saying to bring black players in regardless of their ability and you know it. But, if you want the best players, regardless of race, then you should be concerned if the best African-American athletes are not going into baseball; not because they are African-American but because they would improve the talent pool in baseball.

I don’t really understand why it bothers you that baseball, like any business, would want to expand its appeal and, therefore, would look for ways to increase interest in baseball among African-Americans. Businessess try to market to specific demographics all the time.

Michael Bacon
Guest
Michael Bacon
First, if you want to know why Americans of African descent have opted out of baseball, why do you not simply ask them? And I do not mean asking former MLB players like Barry Larkin and Doug Glanville, although it would be interesting to hear their thoughts on the matter, but ask the ones with no interest in baseball why they have no interest in baseball. Baseball has always been a game passed from father to son, and statistics have shown a large number of Americans of African descent have come of age without a father. One of the reasons… Read more »
Michael Bacon
Guest
Michael Bacon
I wrote this in reply to part 1, “The map from the NY Times, and every map I have seen during my lifetime (born in 1950) shows the Confederate South lagging behind no matter what is being studied. Therefore you simply cannot judge the South the same way you judge the other sections of the “United” States!” Take a look at the map provided by the NY Times today in the article, “Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.?” (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/upshot/where-are-the-hardest-places-to-live-in-the-us.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMedia&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0) Just look at the states of the old Confederacy. And it has been this way ever since… Read more »
Chris Coh
Guest
Chris Coh
Also, off topic but I want everyone to know that there’s shit load of price fixing and collusion in the MLB–much more than in the NFL but much less than the NBA. The owners have a long history of fixing games, and revenue sharing is another way of reducing competition further. The playoffs are a crapshoot completely, but that’s no mistake. And the demand for the game has become less tied to winning over the years, and regional market size is becoming less tied to revenue as TV and internet have introduced out-of-market fans. Put all of that together, and… Read more »
Southern Baseballer
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Southern Baseballer
I witnessed the decline in African-American interest in baseball growing up in the South in the 80s and 90s. The author can say what he wants, but it was UNDENIABLE, and it was not about ‘opportunity’ or ‘disadvantage’ or ‘racism’. When I was much younger in the 70s and 80s, the good black athletes played all sports, including baseball. And believe me, in my community and the others around me, they were mostly from poor backgrounds, poorer than blacks are now. But those guys would catch a ride on the back of a pickup truck with whoever to get to… Read more »
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