As MLB Honors Jackie Robinson, Can It Reverse A Trend?

Source: Bob Nightengale / USA Today

Major League Baseball, which will honor Jackie Robinson once again today by having every player wear No. 42, has the lowest percentage of African-Americans in uniform since 1958.

The African-American population in baseball is virtually unchanged from a year ago at 7.8%, according to USA TODAY Sport’s survey of opening-day rosters and disabled lists.

There are 67 black players in the major leagues, with three teams not represented by a single African-American player – the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals. It’s a dramatic change from 1972-1996, when African Americans represented at least 16% of the game’s players, according to Mark Armour of the Society of Baseball Research (SABR) – with a high of 18.7% in 1981.

Commissioner Bud Selig is sickened by the diminishing numbers, and just as he promised Aaron, his dear friend, he has vowed to do something about it, commissioning an 18-member task force.

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