Strike Three!

Once upon a time, baseball was a staple of the black community, sitting at the same dais of cultural entities as the church, jazz and barber shops/beauty salons. 

However, over the last 30 years, African American player participation and fan interest has declined to epic low numbers. Along with these abyss-type figures, Major League Baseball has struggled with regards to hiring minorities to work as managers and executives in the front office.

With the dawn of a new season, theres a bubbling sense of optimism for players and fans alike. However, in the same breath, baseballs return to the sports calendar is a glaring reminder of the lack of diversity within the clubhouse, ballpark stands and upper management jobs.

Of the 30 clubs throughout the Majors, Dusty Baker of the Washington Nationals and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers are the lone black skippers filling out a lineup card in the dugout

Baker, a three-time National League Manager of the Year (1993, 1997 and 2000) with the San Francisco Giants, was hired by the Nationals in November. Hes a baseball lifer who came up with the Atlanta Braves in 1968. During his solid 18-year playing career with the Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Giants and Oakland Athletics, he was a twice named as an All-Star (1981-82), a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1980-81), Gold Glove Award winner (1981), NLCS MVP (1977) and World Series champion (1981). After managing the Giants from 1993-02, he had stints with the Cubs (2003-06) and Reds (2008-13). Baker guided all three teams to the playoffs with a World Series appearance in San Francisco. His pennant-winning season in 2002 made him the second African American to manage in the World Series.

Image title

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

The 2016 campaign is Roberts first season as a manager. He previously played 10 seasons for five teams. The signature moment of his career came in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series. With the Red Sox trailing 4-3 versus the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth, and 3-0 in the series, Roberts came in as a pinch runner and stole second against legendary closer, Mariano Rivera. He then scored on a Bill Mueller single to tie the game. Boston won 6-4 in 12 innings. Roberts steal and eventual score sparked Bostons historic comeback in the ALCS and first World Series title since 1918.

His coaching/managerial rsum includes serving as a first base coach (2011-14) and bench coach (2015) with the San Diego Padres. He filled in as a manager for one game in 2015 following the in-season firing of Bud Black. The Padres lost to Oakland, 9-1.

The Selig Rule

In 1999, former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig issued a mandate requiring teams to consider minorities for high-ranking job openings. Nevertheless, just like in the NFLs Rooney Rule, this decree is limited and only has legislative power when it comes to the interviewing process. Team owners have the right to hire the person of their choosing for any open position.

Managers are hired and fired at the conclusion of each season. However, the peak total of black skippers in one year was eight in 2002. This list included Baker (Giants), Frank Robinson (Montreal Expos), Don Baylor (Chicago Cubs), Jerry Manuel (Chicago White Sox), Hal McRae (Tampa Bay Rays), Lloyd McClendon (Pittsburgh Pirates), Davey Lopes (Milwaukee Brewers) and Jerry Royster (replaced Lopes with Brewers after he was fired during the season).

The biggest issue is that minorities are not seriously being considered for many of these openings, said Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES). Enacting the Selig Rule was a step in the right direction in requiring minority candidates to be considered for each managerial opening. However, the number of minority managers has steadily decreased since the 2009 season and oftentimes, we see the same candidates being chosen for each opening that comes about.

Despite its flaws, the Selig Rule perhaps played a significant role in the career advancement of Kenny Williams, Mike Hill and former ace Dave Stewart. Williams had a brief pro career, but has excelled as an executive. He worked as general manager for the Chicago White Sox from 2000-12. This run included a World Series title in 2005. In October 2012, he was promoted to executive vice president. Hill previously served as general manager of the Miami Marlins from 2007-13 before being taking the job as president of baseball operations in September 2013. Stewarts pitching highlights includes World Series rings with the Dodgers (1981), Athletics (1989) and Blue Jays (1993), World Series MVP (1989) and two ALCS MVPs (1990, 1993). In September 2014, he was hired as general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Williams, Hill and Stewart are currently the highest ranking African Americans in the Majors.

Image title

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

Noticeable Absence

The lack of black managers in MLB represents a double-edged problem which goes beyond a level platform of inclusion when it comes to hiring policies.

Just like with any sport, coaches or managers previously competed as a pro or on the collegiate level. Unfortunately, due to the annual downward spiral of black players suiting up in the Majors, theres a smaller talent pool of applicants seeking work as managers. While this in no way is an excuse for the unbalanced scale of managerial diversity, it does, however, provide some insight as to why the number of managers of color has plummeted over the past decade.

I think this could be tied back to the pipeline, beginning with the number of minority players in each sport, said Dr. Lapchick. The number of black players in MLB has declined, causing MLB to institute several initiatives in an attempt to reverse this trend. While the NBA and NFL have 74.4 percent and 68.7 percent African American players, respectively, MLB had only 8.3 percent. More African American players will likely lead to a future with more African Americans in coaching and managing positions.

The Latin American Paradox

Latin Americans have made significant contributions to the game of baseball. Many stood alongside African Americans, competing in the Negro Leagues during Major League Baseballs segregation era. Since that ban was lifted, Latinos have carved out their own niche with superstars such as Roberto Clemente, Juan Marichal, Pedro Martnez, Ivn Rodrguez, Albert Pujols and the aforementioned Mariano Rivera standing as some of the greatest players in the history of the game.

The love affair between Latin Americans and baseball goes beyond the schedule of games in the United States. Due to its baseball-friendly climate, several Latin American countries have yearlong leagues which serve as a potential springboard to the Majors for talented players.

However, despite this long-lasting bond, several Latinos have also found themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to top-tier jobs. While the sum of African Americans is significantly less than it was 30 years ago, Latino representation on MLB rosters has increased annually over the same period. According to data collected from TIDES in their Racial and Gender Report Card for Major League Baseball, the number of Latinos on ball clubs rose from 28.4 percent in 2014 to 29.3 percent in 2015.

Based off this information, combined the traditional gateway of former players ascending to managerial or executive positions, it would seem only natural thered be a higher total of Latinos in these roles. Currently, Fredi Gonzlez of the Atlanta Braves is the only Latin American manager in the big leagues. Prior to his first season with the Braves in 2011, Gonzlez managed the Marlins from 2007-10.

Image title

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

Although the managerial jobs are far and few between, there is Latin American representation in ownership. Arturo (Arte) Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is the head man of the franchise and the lone Latino owner in the four American professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL).

Where Do We Go From Here?

At its core, baseball is a grand game. However, despite the massive wealth opportunities from non-salary cap contracts, many young African American athletes are turning away from the sport in droves once they reach high school. This decrease carries over to the minor leagues and ultimately the pros. Little-to-none black player participation equals no future managerial hirings.

Baseball also struggles from a popularity standpoint within the African American community. Unlike football or basketball, a lot of young black athletes dont perceive playing baseball as the cool thing to do. The sport needs a rising black star the likes of Steph Curry, Cam Newton or LeBron James to help kids regain an interest in pursuing a career in the Majors.   

For foreign-born Latin American athletes, baseball provides an escape from impoverished conditions of their homeland. Because of this, the number of Hispanics on the diamond will continue to rise with each passing season. Owners and general managers must foster a culture of equality by offering Latin American retirees the same opportunities to run a club as they do to play on a club.

In order for baseball to reflect the cultural patchwork quilt of America, it will need to do a 180-degree turn when it comes to minorities working in managerial and executive positions. The revolving door, which often swings open for white managers/general managers after their termination or resignation, must also turn freely for African Americans and Hispanics applying for work. This is the only way the game will showcase a level playing field and erase the ugly stigma of the perpetual inequities within the hiring realms.


Related Articles


  1. My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on numerous websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to another platform. I have heard great things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  2. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very much appreciated.

  3. Merely a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding layout. “Make the most of your regrets… . To regret deeply is to live afresh.” by Henry David Thoreau.

  4. I discovered your blog site on google and check a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the very good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading more from you later on!…

  5. Hi, just required you to know I he added your site to my Google bookmarks due to your layout. But seriously, I believe your internet site has 1 in the freshest theme I??ve came across. It extremely helps make reading your blog significantly easier.

  6. Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this website. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched everywhere and just couldn’t come across. What an ideal web-site.

  7. We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

  8. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content available for you? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome weblog!

  9. I am curious to find out what blog platform you’re utilizing? I’m having some small security problems with my latest site and I’d like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any solutions?

  10. hello there and thank you for your information – I’ve certainly picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical points using this web site, since I experienced to reload the web site lots of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective exciting content. Make sure you update this again soon..

  11. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  12. What i do not realize is actually how you are not actually much more well-liked than you may be now. You’re very intelligent. You realize thus considerably relating to this subject, produced me personally consider it from a lot of varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it’s one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

  13. Magnificent goods from you, man. I have consider your stuff prior to and you are just extremely
    great. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you
    are stating and the way by which you say it. You are
    making it enjoyable and you still take care of to stay it wise.
    I cant wait to read much more from you. That is actually a terrific web site.

  14. This design is spectacular! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  15. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Excellent work!

  16. naturally like your web-site but you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality nevertheless I will certainly come again again.

  17. Spot on with this write-up, I truly assume this website wants way more consideration. I’ll probably be once more to learn far more, thanks for that info.

  18. Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

  19. Fantastic site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you in your sweat!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.