MLB: Blacks in Baseball Down To 8.5 Percent, My Thoughts

Bernadette PasleyContributor IApril 22, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:   Don Newcombe, former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate of Jackie Robinson, waves before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida has released its annual report on the diversity of Major League Baseball. According to an article on, the report lists the percentage of black MLB players at 8.5 percent, down from 9.1 percent in 2010.  It has been declining a little every year since 2008, when it was at 10.2 percent.

At last count, the article on ESPN's website generated 2,582 comments, most of them critical of the article and the report. Most of the comments asked why no one is doing studies on the small number of whites and Asians in the NFL and NBA. For example, jayk318 said this:

"Here's what I don't get......why aren't there studies done to determine the lack of white, hispanic, asian, etc. players in the NFL or NBA? Or the lack of asian players in the MLB? I could go in several directions with this, but the point is made. Why is the focus ONLY on the percentage of black players in MLB? And how is it anyone's responsibility to raise that percentage?"

Why? Jackie Robinson, that's why. Jackie Robinson was not only the first black player in Major League Baseball. He was the first black player in any major American sport.

He paved the way, not only for other black baseball players but for black players in the NBA, NFL and beyond. Had he not been successful, who's to say if or when a black athlete would have been given another chance?

Also, many historians believe that things like Brown vs. Board Of Education and the Civil Rights Movement would never have happened had Robinson not been successful.

Now keep all of this in mind and think about that 8.5 percent again. The sport that started it all, that led to doors opening throughout society, has dwindling numbers of blacks on its fields. I think that's pretty significant.

What do you think?