Rhoden: Baseball renews push for diversity as decades of gains slip away

From SABR member William C. Rhoden at the New York Times on October 9, 2015:

Rob Manfred was a high school student in upstate New York in 1975 when Frank Robinson became Major League Baseball’s first black manager. Lloyd McClendon was a high school student in Gary, Ind.

Forty years later, Manfred, 57, is Major League Baseball’s commissioner. McClendon, 56, is the manager of the Seattle Mariners. He is also the majors’ lone African-American manager.

“It’s 2015, and it speaks to where we are as a country that we still have to be talking about a black manager instead of a good manager,” McClendon said last week as he sat in the visiting manager’s office at Yankee Stadium.

How did we get back here? Everyone has a theory. Some point to the shrinking talent pool of black players, but that explanation ignores the diversity of major leaguers who played in the 1980s, when the percentage of blacks in baseball reached a record high, as well as the large number of Dominicans and other Hispanics in the game. (Atlanta’s Fredi Gonzalez is baseball’s only Hispanic manager.)

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/20/sports/baseball/a-renewed-push-for-diversity-as-decades-of-gains-slip-away.html

Originally published: October 9, 2015. Last Updated: October 9, 2015.