Baker: One Thing About World Series 'Looks Bad'

Neither team expects to have a US-born Black player on its roster
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2022 7:35 PM CDT
Baker: One Thing About World Series 'Looks Bad'
Philadelphia Phillies Gary Matthews is congratulated by teammates after homering in Game 3 of the 1983 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.   (AP Photo/File)

In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first Black baseball player to compete in a World Series. Every World Series since then except the one in 1950 has included at least one US-born Black player. That streak is about to end, CBS Sports reports. The Houston Astros have Jose Altuve, who's from Venezuela, and the Philadelphia Phillies have Jean Segura, who's from the Dominican Republic. But as their rosters stand, neither team will bring a single US-born Black player to the field for the opening game on Friday night. "I don't think that that's something that baseball should really be proud of," said Dusty Baker, the Astros manager.

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, found the stat startling. "It lets us know there's obviously a lot of work to be done to create opportunities for Black kids to pursue their dream at the highest level," he said, per the AP. Baker said it "lets people know it didn't take a year or even a decade to get to this point." Gary Matthews recalls being just one of a bunch of Black stars in the 1983 World Series. But over the years, he said, basketball and football became more popular. "Kids started shifting to other sports," Matthews said.

There's reason to think that's changing. "There is help on the way," said Baker, who's one of the two Black managers in baseball. "You can tell by the number of African American No. 1 draft choices." For the first time in MLB history, four of the first five players selected in last year's draft are Black. In addition, MLB has promised $150 million to the Players Alliance, an organization of current and former players trying to increase involvement of Black people in baseball. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at Central Florida said Black players accounted for 7.2% of MLB rosters on this year's opening day, the lowest share it's documented since it began gathering the data in 1991. That year, 18% of the players were Black. (More Major League Baseball stories.)

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