MLB says percentage of black players highest since 2012

From the Associated Press on April 10, 2018, with mention of SABR member Mark Armour:

The percentage of black players from the United States and Canada on opening-day active rosters rose to 8.4 percent, its highest level since at least 2012.

Major League Baseball attributed the increase at least partly to its efforts to increase baseball youth participation with programs that include Urban Youth Academies and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI).

“It’s been a huge investment for us,” Renee Tirado, MLB’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, said Monday. “Obviously growing the game amongst our players is a priority, so that uptick has definitely been from a concerted effort.”

As the 71st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the major league color barrier approaches Sunday, MLB said the percentage was up from 7.7 last year and 8.27 the previous two seasons.

MLB based its figures on the 750 players who were active on March 29 and did not include the 127 who were disabled, suspended or on paternity leave. The percentage peaked at 19 in 1986, the league said, citing Mark Armour of the Society of American Baseball Research. The league said previous accounts attributing a high of 27 percent in the 1970s included dark-skinned players from Latin America, according to Armour.

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Originally published: April 11, 2018. Last Updated: April 11, 2018.