The percentage of Black players in the major leagues increased to 10.2 percent last year, the first rise since the 1995 season.
The sport had reached an all-time low of 8.2 percent in 2007, according to Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. The percentage of Black pitchers rose to 5 percent from 3 percent and the percentage of Black infielders went up to 9 percent from 7 percent.
“The decline of African-American players has been a big story and this may represent a halt in that slide,” Lapchick said.
Baseball received an A for race hiring for the first time in his annual report, which was released Wednesday, up from an A- last year. He cited 10 minority managers at the start of this season, matching the previous high in 2002. There were five African-Americans, four Hispanics and one Asian-American.
There were five minority GMs: three African-Americans and two Hispanics.
The sport got a B for gender hiring, up from a C+. Its overall grade went up to B+ from B.
Lapchick released the study on Jackie Robinson Day, the 62nd anniversary of when Robinson broke the major league color barrier. The New York Mets dedicated the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field on Wednesday.
“Bud Selig has led the way on these issues in MLB which achieved this through strong records for race in the commissioner’s office, as well as at the levels of manager, coach, general manager and the professional administrators of teams,” Lapchick said. “MLB continues to have an outstanding record for diversity initiatives.”
He said the percentage of minority employees in the commissioner’s office went up to 34 percent from 28 percent.
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