Percentage Of Black MLB Players At Highest Level Since '12 Season
The percentage of black players on MLB Opening Day rosters rose to 8.4%, its "highest level" since at least '12, according to Ronald Blum of the AP. MLB said the percentage was "up from 7.7 last year and 8.27 the previous two seasons." MLB based its figure on the 750 players "who were active on March 29 and did not include the 127 who were disabled, suspended or on paternity leave." The league attributed the increase "at least partly to its efforts to increase baseball youth participation with programs that include Urban Youth Academies and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI)." MLB "launched the RBI program" in '89, and the "first Urban Youth Academy was started" in Compton, Calif., in '06. About 150 players who "attended the Compton Academy have been drafted and a dozen have reached the major leagues," including Yankees CF Aaron Hicks and A's LF Khris Davis (AP, 4/10).
HONORING ROBINSON: MLB announced its plans to commemorate the annual, league-wide Jackie Robinson Day this Sunday. New on-field elements will include commemorative patches with the '42' logo on all team caps and jersey sleeves, socks and a hooded fleece for batting practice or dugout wear. The new batting practice and uniform elements were added to complement the tradition of players and on-field personnel wearing Robinson's number 42 (MLB).