Putting Them Under The Microscope

By The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport
Updated: April 16, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. — MLB started the 2009 season with ten managers of color, equaling their historic best of 10 in 2002. The five general managers of color was an all-time high for MLB.

These were among the key factors that helped MLB raise its overall grade for race from 89.5 to 91.5 for its first ever full A grade for racial hiring practices.

While baseball did not fare as well for gender, it did raise that grade from 76 to 81 points for a B.This gave MLB its best ever combined grade of 86 points for a solid B+, also its best grade in the history of the Report Card.

Richard Lapchick, Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida which released the study, said “Bud Selig has led the way on these issues in MLB which achieved this through strong records for race in the Commissioner’s office as well as at the levels of manager, coach, general manager and the professional administrators of teams.”

“MLB continues to have an outstanding record for Diversity Initiatives which include the third annual Civil Rights Game, Jackie Robinson Day and Roberto Clemente Day.”

Lapchick noted that “Jackie Robinson’s dream was to see more African-Americans playing, coaching and in the front office. It has been ironic that as the role of people of color dramatically increases regarding who runs the game, African-American players decreased for almost 15 years.

Now this year as racial hiring practices continued to get better, the percent of African-American players also increased to 10.2 percent, up from last year’s all-time low of 8.2 percent in the 2007 season.

That has been a concern of Major League Baseball and leaders in the African-American community. While we need to wait to see if this a one year adjustment or a trend, this is more good news for MLB that its grass roots programs might be taking effect.”

Below are some of the highlights reported by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport:

– The 2008 season was the first season in which there was an increase of African-American players in MLB over the previous season since 1995. Amidst the debates of why African-Americans are abandoning the field of baseball, the 2008 season had a two percentage point increase of African-American players over the 2007 season.

– The total population of Major League players of color (39.6 percent) was comprised of Latino (27 percent), African-American (10.2 percent) or Asian (2.4 percent). MLB has been remarkably consistent in terms of the percentage of white players. Between the 1998 and the 2008 seasons, 59-61 percent of the players have been white in each season with the exception of 2004 which saw 63 percent of the players being white.

– The percentage of Latino and Asian players declined by 2.1 and 0.4 percentage points.

– The percentage of international players in MLB in 2008 was 28.7 percent, a drop of 2.3 percent from 2007. On Opening Day for 2009, 28 percent of Major League players were foreign-born, spanning 15 countries and territories. In addition, of Minor League players under contract, 47.8 percent were born outside of the US. Minor League players span 31 countries and territories.

– 34 percent of the staff in MLB’s Central Office were people of color while women made up 40 percent of the positions. This marked a six percentage point increase of people of color in the front-office population.

– According to MLB, at the director and managerial level, 26 percent of the 91 employees were people of color, while women occupied 34 percent of the front-office positions at the MLB Central Office.

– Arturo Moreno, who owns the Los Angeles Angels, remains the only person of color to own a Major League Baseball team.

– MLB has 10 managers of color for the start of 2009; five African-American, four Latino, one Asian-American. Thus 33.3 percent of MLB Managers are people of color as of the start of the 2009 season, an increase of 6.6 percentage points from 2008. This tied the all-time record set in 2002.

– Don Wakamatsu, hired by the Mariners in November 2008, is the first person of Asian descent to become a manager in MLB history.

– In the 2008 MLB season, people of color held 33.4 percent of coaching positions in MLB (up 2.4 percentage points from 2007). African-Americans held 12 percent (down one percentage point), Latinos held 21 percent (up four percentage points).

– According to the MLB, people of color constitute 37 percent of the manager positions within the combined Major and Minor Leagues.

– Jamie McCourt (LA Dodgers) was named CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 17, 2009 thus making her the highest ranking woman in MLB. Pam Gardner is the President of Business Operations for the Houston Astros. There is no person of color as either CEO or team president of an MLB team.

– At the start of the 2009 season, there were two Latino and three African-American General Managers. Ruben Amaro Jr. is the second Latino General Manager in MLB history. The 2009 season started with a historical best 17 percent of the General Managers in MLB being people of color.

– The 2008 MLB season had already been a landmark year with four General Managers of color. The combination of three African-Americans and one Latino comprised 13 percent of the General Managers in MLB.

– The Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants led MLB with seven and six women in vice president positions, respectively. The Toronto Blue Jays have three while 12 other teams had one or two women in vice president positions. Fifty percent of MLB teams have a woman in a vice president position.

– In the 2008 MLB season, 11 percent of team vice presidents were people of color and 17 percent were women, indicating an increase of one percent for people of color and female representation in the vice president positions.

– In the 2008 MLB season, 17 percent of senior team administrators were people of color. Women held 18 percent of senior administration positions.

– In 2008, the percentage of people of color holding professional positions with teams was 14 percent. The percentage of women in those positions was 29 percent.

– The strategic implementation of MLB’s Diverse Business Partners Program has resulted in well over $600 million being spent with thousands of minority- and women-owned businesses.

– The 2009 Civil Rights Game will move from Memphis, TN to Cincinnati, OH on June 20th as a regular season game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox.

Using data from the 2008 season, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport conducted an analysis of the racial breakdown of the players, managers and coaches.

In addition, the Report Card includes a racial and gender breakdown of the owners, management in the Central Office as well as the team level, top team management, senior administration, professional administration, physicians, head trainers and broadcasters.

An overview of player stacking is also included. Listings of professional owners, general managers and managers were updated as of March 1, 2009.

Tables for the Report are included in the attached Appendix I. MLB’s extensive Diversity Initiatives are listed in Appendix II.

This marks the fifth time the Report Card is being issued sport-by-sport. The complete Racial and Gender Report Card, including all the leagues and college sport, will be issued after the release of individual reports on the NBA and WNBA, NFL, MLS and college sport.