Are Baseball Umpires Biased Against Black Pitchers?

Study finds that Black and other minority pitchers get less strike calls than white pitchers.

Posted: 09/29/2011 09:40 PM EDT
Filed Under racism

One…two…three strikes, you’re out — but not if you’re a Black pitcher, according to a recent study.

 

Research scholars from four separate universities analyzed 3.5 million pitches thrown in Major League baseball games from 2004 to 2008 and concluded that Black and other minority pitchers get less strike calls than white pitchers.

 

To combat the foul bias, minority pitchers will compensate by throwing balls closer to the middle of the strike zone in order to get favorable calls, which hurts their overall performance because they are offering pitches that are much easier for batters to hit, the study reports. The study was first published in American Economic Review.

 

Baseball great Jackie Robinson may have broken the league’s color barrier in 1947, becoming key to the desegregation of American sports, but the debate over the game’s racist undertones has not seemed to fade over time.

 

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