Encore Box: African American Umpire Under The Plate

Updated: May 12, 2007




Chuck Meriwetherl


Watching FOX Saturday was

comparable to winning

the Lottery statistically

if you got to see

Texas play LA

You saw an African American Umpire calling Balls & Strikes. How rare is that. If you like to bet a sure thing, Bet someone that for the rest of this MLB season they will not see a FOX network Saturday broadcast in which a Black Umpire is behind the Plate. Here is why it is a safe bet …..

There are 15 Major League games on any Saturday which means there are 60 MLB Umpires involved. Of those 15 of course will be behind the Plate. There are exactly TWO African American Umpires in the Majors. One in the American League. The other in the National League. Tokenism taken to its Extreme.

You do not have to be a Mathematician to figure this out. That with 70 MLB roster umpires and on any Saturday with at most 2 Black Umpires sometimes less. The chance that with 15 games played that one of the two with a Black umpire will be broadcast AND that in rotation an African American Umpire will be calling Balls and Strikes in about 1 in 1000 when all these factors are weighed. Maybe not a bad as the odds of winning the lottery but close and a very safe bet. In fact there is a very good chance Saturday’s game will be the only FOX broadcast all season with a Black Umpire behind the Plate.

Just our latest way to Dramatize

The most blatant example of Racism in all of American Sports.

The fact that only SIX African Americans have ever been Major League Umpires. It is the “best” (sic) answer to all those Black & White who contend that the lack of African Americans in Major League Baseball is not the result of conscious decisions on the part of Bud Selig and his BS crew of executives at Major League headquarters. And the 30 owners.

You can try hard as you want to explain away the lack of Black MLB players by arguing African Americans “just aren’t playing Baseball” meaning there are not a lot of talented African American to compete to be on Major League Rosters. That whole “theory” is a a Crock but that is not today’s Story.

What is today’s Story is that UMPIRES are trained, they are put through school. They LEARN the trade. You don’t get born with certain skills that make one person a MLB Umpire and the next person not. And go on to earn between $ 100,000 and $ 300,000 a year for working EIGHT months of every year. Travel the country in style for free. Plus hefty extra pay for Post-Season Umpiring.

Think about this

Every time Bud Selig sees a media microphone within one hundred yards of him he rushes to it so he can proclaim his deep deep sadness hat there are not more African Americans in Baseball today. And as he has said on the record his most important and significant goal as Commissioner has been his (failed) attempt to reverse this trend.


In any organization. In any business in which only 3% of employees in a major “division” of that business are African American and indeed in the 100+ history of that business’ existence in which that division has employed thousands of individuals only SIX have EVER been African American that company and its CEO would take action to end that Blatant Discrimination. Or suffer severe penalties of various sorts. Public condemnation.



And as our 3 part investigative Box series in 2002 proved in detail the entire MLB Umpire “system” is so structured that it is virtually impossible for African Americans to become Major League Umpires.

There are just TWO Lily White certified privately operated and owned MLB umpire “academies” which anyone who wants to be considered to be appointed an MLB Umpire must first graduate.

ALL BASEBALL WOULD HAVE TO DO to have a steady flow of Black Umpire candidates to choose from is fund a third academy ……

……. where the owners, and the management and the instructors would be predominantly African American. A very logical move to make to break up this Institutional Racism and provide Blacks EQUAL opportunity.

But Baseball does nothing. Today in 2007 FIVE years after our landmark series there are still only TWO African American Major League Umpires. The exact same TWO as in 2002 Chuck Meriwether and Kerwin Danley. Meriwether was behind the Plate Saturday afternoon on FOX.

So especially for all

the African American

Apologist who relieve

Bud Selig and MLB of

conscious responsibility

for Blatant Discrimination

Against African Americans



You will find our full landmark 3 part series Box series from 2002 “The Very Worst Case Of Discrimination In Sports Today ” linked Below. Note that the ONLY African American Umpires in MLB today are exactly the same TWO back in 2002 Chuck Meriwether and Kerwin Danley.


Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box ……. blackbox@blackathlete.net

Kerwin Danley