Baltimore Oriole outfielder Adam Jones is serious about finding Black boys and young men to play professional baseball. He gets the irony that many of the descendants of African-American men who were not allowed to play pro baseball alongside whites now prefer to play the more glamorous and physical sports of football or basketball, but wants to reverse the trend.
So during his three years as an O, Jones has canvassed Baltimore’s Black neighborhoods on behalf of the program, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. It is a Major League Baseball-sponsored effort to inspire minority youth to play what was once America’s most popular game.
According to a study by the University of Central Florida, African-Americans comprise only 8.5 percent of major league players currently, down from a high of 27 percent in 1975. The Baltimore Orioles only have two Black American players on their 25 man roster: Jones and Derrek Lee.
Hispanics, who can be of any race, constitute the largest minority group in Major League Baseball. Their participation grew from 13 percent in 1990 to 28 percent in 2010.
In an interview with a Maryland paper, the Carroll County Times, Jones told a reporter, “Baseball’s a great game. It’s a tough game. I tell the kids that it’s a great way to go.”
(Photo: Marc Serota/Getty Images)