Here’s the article:
On April 10th the Major League Baseball announced the formation of a task-force in hopes of addressing the declining numbers of African Americans within the league. According to the USA Today study, the 7.7% rate of African Americans in the league is as low as it was in 1959 when the Boston Red Sox became the last team to integrate its roster. That rate peaked in 1975 at 27% and in 1995 was at a steady 19%. The league has seen a steady decrease over the years; last year the rate was 8.05%.
Some believe this problem can be traced all the way back to the college level. There are only 11.7 baseball scholarships provided to college baseball programs while 85 scholarships are provided to football programs and 13 to basketball programs. From the eyes of high athletes, especially most African American athletes, they will go where the money can be found. Hall of Fame executive was quoted saying, “At the high-school level, the coaches get these kids in revenue-driven sports, and take them away from baseball. There's so much pressure on these kids to even play spring football.” Obviously there are more members of a football team than a baseball team, but that means more opportunity for players and that tends to steal athletes from the baseball diamond.
Another point of contention that was mentioned in the article was that there is a lack of African American representation in the leadership positions within the league. There are only three African American managers and only one African American general manager. This lack of representation on the front end is what second-base hall of famer Joe Morgan believes drives the low rate of African Americans in the league.
With the release of the new movie 42 retelling the story of the infamous Jackie Robinson, this is an interesting issue to consider. How should Major League baseball go about increasing the rate of African Americans in the league? In addition, is there a magic number that rate should reach? There are high hopes for the task-force being formed. In addition to considering subsidizing baseball scholarships at the college level, the committee is revisiting the already existent “Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI)” program. The RBI program has produced more than 200 draftees into the league over the years and 14 just last year. It just continues to amaze me how we are still fighting the legacy of segregation.