CHART OF THE DAY: The Number Of Black MLB Players Dips Again

button more charts
button chart prev
button chart next

The headlines will all read that the percentage of black players in Major League Baseball is down in 2011 and at the lowest mark since 2007. But if we look at the long-term trend, the number of black players has remained steady for the past 10 years.

Based on the annual study released by Richard Lapchick’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida, the number of black players in 2011 is 8.5 per cent, down from 9.1 per cent in 2010.

However, with more than 750 players on opening day rosters, the difference between 8.5 and 9.1 per cent is only 4-5 players.

If we look at the bigger picture (see below), we see that the percentage has hovered between 8.0 and 10.0 per cent since 2002. When we compare that to where the figures were in the early 1990s, we see where the big drops in percentage have already occurred, and that the rapid drop in percentage has been stopped. 

Percentage of black baseball players

This drop in the percentage of black baseball players, coincides directly with the rapid rise in Hispanic ballplayers which has doubled to about 27 per cent in the last 20 years.

Before a trend can be reversed, it must first be stopped. And based on numbers from the last 10 years, it appears that the number of blacks in baseball is no longer dropping at a rapid rate. That gives hope that an upward trend is possible and could happen in the near future.