SBD/Issue 145/Leagues & Governing Bodies

MLB Earns First Ever "A" Grade For Race In Lapchick's Study

Hudson Disappointed By African
American Presence In Baseball
Univ. of Central Florida (UCF) Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport Dir Richard Lapchick in his '09 MLB Racial & Gender Report Card awarded the league its first ever "A" for race and a "B" for gender, up from an "A-" and "C+," respectively. The number of African-American players in MLB increased during the '08 season to 10.2% after reaching a low of 8.2% in '07, marking the first improvement since '95. Also, there are 10 managers of color at the start of this season, equaling the previous high set in '02. MLB's five GMs of color is also an all-time high. With the league also improving its gender grade, it earned a combined "B+" grade, its best ever (UCF). MLB yesterday celebrated its annual Jackie Robinson Day, but despite the UCF report, Dodgers 2B Orlando Hudson said that Robinson "'would probably turn over in his grave' seeing how few African Americans" play in MLB. Hudson contends that the "increased popularity of basketball and football among African Americans isn't the only reason they're not playing baseball." Hudson: "There aren't too many blacks in baseball, period. They feel like they won't get the chance. You watch the College World Series, how many African Americans do you see?" Hudson said that he is "trying to do something about it," and unveiled plans for his Around the Mound Tour, under which he and other MLB players will "visit schools in various cities to promote baseball in African American communities" (L.A. TIMES, 4/16). However, in L.A., Kurt Streeter notes the Dodgers have six African-American players on their 25-man MLB roster, up from zero in '97, a "humble sign that baseball's push to boost inner-city participation, and its efforts to show a more welcoming side ... may be having an effect" (L.A. TIMES, 4/16).

Lee Says Wearing No. 42 Is About Giving
Robinson "The Recognition He Deserves"
HONORING NO. 42: Every MLB player wore Robinson's No. 42 during yesterday's games, and Cubs 1B Derrek Lee said, "I like it. It's about honoring him and giving him the recognition he deserves, and maybe educating people along the way." Cubs LF Alfonso Soriano: "I remember last year, three or four players used the number. Now, everybody has to use it, and it's nice. Everybody will remember the history now" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/16). Astros manager Cecil Cooper said, "I think it's neat everybody wears it." Cooper added MLB "ought to do it" for Baseball HOFer Roberte Clemente as well. But Astros P LaTroy Hawkins said, "It loses its luster when everybody does it. I think everybody has a certain level of respect for Jackie, and it's not like anybody now shouldn't know who he is and what he's done for the game. I'd hate to see if there is a professional baseball player that doesn't know his legacy in the game. Shame on him if there is" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/16). In Toronto, Richard Griffin writes, "Yesterday was not only a celebration of a great moment in sports history, but also an event that many believe helped launch a civil rights movement. Unfortunately, it's a reality that many of the young players that ultimately benefitted financially and in quality of life do not understand and appreciate. But at least for one day they were part of the celebration" (TORONTO STAR, 4/16).

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