Major League Baseball, alarmed by its historic low 7.7 % of African-American players on opening-day rosters this season, will announce the creation of a formal task force Wednesday to help reverse the decline, three MLB executives told USA TODAY Sports.
The executives spoke on the condition of anonymity because Commissioner Bud Selig has yet to announce it.
The 17-member committee will consist of owners, executives and coaches, including Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Chicago White Sox vice president Kenny Williams, Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and Southern University baseball coach Roger Cador.
Selig is urging them to find ways to increase the pipeline of diverse athletes to baseball, particularly African-Americans.
The African-American percentage in baseball this season is the lowest since the Boston Red Sox became the final team to integrate its roster in 1959, according to a USA TODAY Sports study that includes major-league players on the opening-day disabled lists. It’s a drop from 8.05% last season, a dramatic decline from 1995 when 19% of the rosters were African-American players, and far from the peak of 27% in 1975.
“I never thought I’d see anything like this,’’ Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday. “But I’ve seen it coming. There, for a long time, there were a lot of African-American players to look up to and emulate, but there’s not enough big stars now to dissuade them from basketball and football.’‘
...“I’m not sure there’s a way to stem the tide,’’ said Morgan, Cincinnati Reds senior adviser. “There has to be more involvement to attract athletes to come here. Let’s hope this committee will help. There’s no doubt the movie will open eyes, but after that, let’s wait.’‘
Posted: April 09, 2013 at 09:36 PM | 359 comment(s)
Login to Bookmark