All Major League Baseball parks display the number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson, who famously broke the color barrier and blazed the trail for racial integration in the sport 64 years ago.
In a column on Sunday, Albert R. Hunt writes to Bloomberg that the percentage of African-American players in the league is in decline, but representation has shifted to other roles. The game finds a home in inner-cities, though it is not as popular as other sports with Black youth, he writes:
“Ironically, baseball has flourished in parks in the city centers, while the number of Black players has declined. A quarter-century after Robinson integrated the game, 27 percent of Major League Baseball players were Black; today it’s only 8.5 percent.
It isn’t discrimination; the sport has far more Black administrators and managers and coaches than before. Baseball has become less popular among young American Blacks, who often make other choices; the National Basketball Association is overwhelmingly Black and the NFL is increasingly dominated by African-Americans.”
Baseball has gained many more Latinos — both U.S.-born and from Latin America, Hunt writes. Latinos now account for more than a quarter of the major league rosters.