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New Diversity Study Highlights Lack of Black Players in Major League Baseball


Representation within Major League Baseball has not improved, according to a newly released study.  

In a new diversity study conducted by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport of Central Florida, researchers found that the league reported a record low of Black players playing in the league on opening day rosters for the second year in a row. Released on Thursday, the “2023 Racial and Gender Report Card” gave the league an overall grade of C-plus with a B for racial hiring and C for gender hiring. 

Looking at the overall positions held by members of the league, including higher positions within the league headquarters and the MLB franchise, the study found that Black players made up just 6.2% of the players on the opening day roster released for this year’s season. 

The new 2023 reported findings of the MLB diversity findings mark the second year in a row that the professional baseball league recorded low numbers when it comes to representation. 

In last year’s 2022 report card, the percentage of Black players in the opening day roster of the MLB was only 7.2%. With the newly reported percentage of 6.2%, this year’s percentage reflected a decrease in representation from last year despite the league earning similar overall grades in 2022. Earning a general grade of B-minus, the league was given a B for racial hiring and C-plus for gender hiring.

The past two percentages are the lowest in the study’s history, which dates back to 1991 when Black baseball players made up 18% of the MLB. 

Per AP, the lead study author Richard Lapchick predicted that the low percentage of diversity would be a trend that might continue into the future. 

“It’s hard to say. I think eventually it’s going to turn around in the direction that baseball wants,” said Lapchick, per the Associated Press. “Will it ever get back to where it was? I’d be surprised if it does.”

The new 2023 grading given by TIDES comes months after it was reported in 2022 that no US-born Black players would be playing in the World Series for the first time in 72 years. 

The lack of diversity aligned with the 75th anniversary of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson breaking barriers in the league. On April 15, 1947, Robinson became the first Black baseball player in the MLB when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers at the age of 28. 

He went on to lead the team to six league championships and win one World Series for the Brooklyn Dodgers. For his achievements, Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. 

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