Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Selig To Study Putrid Percentages of African-Americans in Baseball

A MLB committee met today in Mliwaukee to find out why there are so few African-Americans playing in the league.
“I don't want to miss any opportunity here,” said commissioner Bud Selig. "We want to find out if we're not doing well, why not, and what we need to do better. We'll meet as many times as we need to to come to meaningful decisions.”
Andrew McCutchen, Matt Kemp, Michael Bourn

The World Champion San Francisco Giants are one of several major league teams that don't have a single African-American on their current roster. If I didn't love the Giants, I'd  be really annoyed. League wide, just 8.5% of all players are African-American, and according to Society of American Baseball Research, the number has never been higher than nineteen-percent. (Didn't it seem higher in the 1970's?)One problem apparent to me right now is, the media doesn't seem to give a crap. The article I read about this on CBS cited a figure on the percentage of African-Americans in the game from the NYT. CBS didn't already know the answer and couldn't be bothered with looking it up themselves. But the media isn't the only problem.

When it comes to field managers, maybe hiring practices discourages African-Americans from pursuing baseball.

Ned Yost is now the manager of the Kansas City Royals, but why. He'd already unsuccessfully managed the Milwaukee Brewers. Six years and a .477 winning percentage. OK, he had a bad squad. Let's given him another chance. In 3 plus years with KC, Yost is 203-256! This will be Yosts' tenth year as manager, but he probably shouldn't have more than three.

Conversely, according to a site called FanGraphic there have been 14 black managers in the history of MLB. (The data was collected between 1975 and 2010. Bo Porter was hired this year)
Of those 14, only 11 ever managed a full season —Jerry Royster, Larry Doby,(the second African-American to play in the majors) and Maury Wills were midseason replacements who were canned before they ever got a chance to manage their 162nd game — and just nine ever won as many as 200 games, a total reached by 250 other managers in history, including Yost!
Maury Wills

Let's look at players on the field. The good news is there are a few medicore African-Americans playing or sitting the bench. Why is that good news? Because it no longer means, if your African-American, you have to be a starter or a superstar in order to play.

Selig, hated by many in the media who in turn have persauded fans to hate him, has been the most progressive commissioner on race relations. Thanks to Selig, there have been improvements in the hiring practices of MLB teams for front office jobs. But right now, just Dusty Baker, Bo Porter, and Ron Washington are managing. That's three out of 30 teams.  Baker and Washington lead their teams to playoff appearances last season and Washington won two consecutive American League Championships with Texas. Porter was hired by the Astro's in the off season the same way most black managers get their jobs, by being offered a position with a crappy team.
Bud Selig

Selig also required all major league teams to retire the number 42. That number was worn by Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play in the majors. As for diversity on the field and front office, its unclear how much Selig's efforts led to the improvement or if social evolution played an equally important role, but it happened on his watch.
Selig instituted the first Rooney Rule in pro sports. That's a reference to an NFL rule that requires teams looking for new head coaches to interview at least one minority candidate. Selig's version was implemented in 1990, 13 years before the NFL rule. But in the MLB version, Selig directs teams to notify him of the names of minority candidates they planned to interview for their vacancies. The interviews were to be legitimate, Selig told them, not of the token variety. I'm not saying these moves were all substance, but once there was a rule in place, the media could have kept the heat on by asking questions. Instead, how many of us even KNEW MLB had such a rule?
There are no reports on what this new committee will look at, when they will draw their conclusions are when/if the results will be released to the public.

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