As Major League Baseball continues to promote, seek and develop diversity from the grassroots level and above, Tony Reagins, a former GM of the Los Angeles Angels, was promoted to Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development.
In this elevated role, Reagins’ expanded responsibilities include a focus on international youth and amateur growth opportunities, amateur scouting, and oversight of the Arizona Fall League.
MLB today announced the promotion of Tony Reagins to Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development. In this elevated role, Reagins will oversee the growth of youth and amateur levels of the sport, both domestically and internationally. https://t.co/9TNcukqn4g
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: Tony Reagins has led some of our sports most important initiatives, which has resulted in significant and tangible gains in the youth and amateur spaces. We look forward to Tony excelling in this expanded role and continuing our momentum in an area that is vital to the games future.
The African-American population in MLB has dwindled from 17.2% in 1994, according to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to just 7.1% of players on last years opening-day rosters, the lowest percentage since 1958, according to a study by USA TODAY Sports.
The percentage of black players in @MLB has dropped by 20% over the past 40 years – here’s a startling theory why #WorldSeries https://t.co/uNPWu0dSds
There were 62 African-American players among the 868 on active rosters and disabled lists at the start of last season. Eleven teams had no more than one African American on their roster, and the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies had none. On top of that, there were only two African-American skippers; Los Angeles Dodgers Dave Roberts and Washington Nationals legend Dusty Baker.
However, the tireless work of Reagin and other prominent members of MLB’s diversity team like Sr. Director of Baseball Development Del Matthews— who hit the ground running in 2016 and oversees the execution and function of MLBs Urban Youth Academies across the globe — is showing dividends.
Thank you to Eddie Davis and the MLB Urban Youth League Academy for the generous donation of 16 new pairs of @UnderArmour cleats for the @KIPPRenaissance bobcat baseball team! #gratitude #KNOS #KRHS #nolaed
According to an MLB press release, in May 2017, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) announced that overall baseball participation increased by 7.7% and slow-pitch softball participation increased by 8.1%, with casual participation in both baseball and slow-pitch softball showing the highest growth. Casual participation in baseball rose by 18.1%.
On the MLB level, the progress is slower but still evident as three African-American ballers were chosen in the first 10 picks of the 2017 MLB Draft.
According to MLB PR Director Steven Arocho, overall the 2017 MLB Draft featured over 30 players” that honed their baseball skills in at least one of MLBs programs geared towards identifying, developing and encouraging minority talent: RBI (including RBI World Series), Youth Academy, Breakthrough Series, Elite Development Invitational and DREAM Series.
Congrats to the young men at the Compton @MLBUYA. Bright Futures for all. Have to recognize 2017 Dream Series/BreakThrough Series participants: @JuBoyd24 @NevadaBaseball @JTris037 @SCU_Baseball &Yuji Sakane @PeppBaseball https://t.co/w5gqDX46v5
Prior to joining the Commissioners Office, Reagins held several key roles with the Los Angeles Angels. He served as the teams Director of Player Development and then became the fifth African-American General Manager in baseball history. His highlights included the Clubs consecutive American League West crowns in 2008-09 and its first 100-win season in franchise history in 08, which resulted in Reagins being named the Rube Foster American League Executive of the Year.
Reagins department will continue to emphasize its U.S.-based model of strengthening participation levels of baseball and softball, both at the grassroots and the development stages.
This approach includes the continued growth of the PLAY BALL initiative, which launched in June 2015. Reagins also has led the proliferation of the Breakthrough Series amateur development camps, which now covers boys baseball, girls baseball, and softball.
Eric Schmidt visits with Ken Griffey, Jr. and others, to talk about MLB’s Breakthrough Series in Chicago
Additional programs that will continue to be covered by the Baseball & Softball Development department include Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), MLB Youth Academies, the Elite Development Invitational and the Andre Dawson Classic for HBCUs.