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Volume 23 No. 14
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MLB cites ‘opportunity’ in wake of hiring report

Major League Baseball has shown slight improvement in racial hiring and a slight decrease in gender hiring, according to the latest data compiled by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

The 2019 MLB Racial and Gender Report Card, created by the institute known as TIDES, gives MLB an A-, or 89 points, for its racial hiring practices, up from 88 points in the 2018 report. The league scored a C, or 70 points, for its gender hiring practices, down from 71 points in 2018 (see charts). The league’s overall grade was a B- with a combined score of 79 points, the same as last year.

Overall, diversity and gender hiring at the MLB team level trails the league office. The report gives MLB’s central office an A+ for racial hiring and a C for gender hiring practices, the same marks as last year. But in six grades for race at the MLB team front-office level, the only A grade was for coaches. Teams received a B for racial hiring at the senior administration level and a B+ at the professional administration level, but a C- and a D+ for gender hiring at the same jobs.

The annual report card tracks gender and diversity data among all owners, general managers, players, coaches and full-time front-office professional staff from each MLB team as well as all professional staff at MLB headquarters.

“Major League Baseball’s teams must improve inclusive hiring practices in order to accurately represent the players who play the game and the communities they serve,” said Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the report and director of TIDES.

Renee Tirado, MLB’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, said the Lapchick findings represent something of a double-edged sword for the league. “We appreciate the report, and it’s something that definitely helps keep us honest,” she said. “But there are also a number of things happening within the sport that haven’t necessarily been reflected in the report yet.”

Tirado pointed to ongoing efforts such as the MLB Diversity Fellowship Program and Diversity Pipeline Program, which each seek to develop qualified minority and female candidates for positions within the game, and are heavily focused on recent college graduates and early-stage professionals.

“That’s the next big step, seeing talent from those programs taking those next steps and rising to middle and senior management. It’s a different skill set. But it’s coming, and we’re hopeful about where this is all going,” Tirado said. “What that, and the Lapchick findings, all tell us is that there is still a great amount of opportunity in front of us.”