The Number of African-American Pitchers in Major League Baseball Will Shock You

Disappointing news on the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.

Friday marks the 69th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.

And in celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, every player in Major League Baseball is donning No. 42 jerseys in honor of the late slugger.

But in celebrating the glorious day in not only baseball, but American history, the dwindling number of Black players, and more specifically pitchers, on the diamond is hard to ignore.

According to USA Today Sports, the number of African-American players in the MLB remains at only eight percent and, within that, there are just 14 black pitchers. That's fourteen (seven starters and seven relievers) out of 449 pitchers throughout the league.

So, the question is why are there so few African-American pitchers?

"When you think about it, the Black pitchers have almost become extinct," Arizona Diamondbacks general manager, Dave Stewart, told USA Today. "There are a lot of reasons, I don’t know if any of them are valid, but it seems like a lot of teams take black pitchers and convert them to infielders or outfielders. I know it happened a lot in the past, so maybe it’s still happening."

Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker thinks teams put more money is being put behind white pitchers.

“The reason you don’t see a black player converted into being a pitchers is because teams don’t have money invested in them," Baker told USA Today. Most of the white pitchers being converted, you have money invested in them."

Tampa Bay Rays ace pitcher Chris Archer told the publication that he thinks African-American parents guide their kids to play different positions.

“People don’t really view athleticism transcending onto the pitchers’ mound, as you would an outfielder or a shortstop," he said. "You just don’t think of it as an athletic thing to do. It’s really the last choice of the parents.”

Do you agree?

The article even triggered a discussion about the scarcity of Black pitchers in the majors on Friday's episode of ESPN's First Take.

What do you think the reason is that only 3.1 percent of MLB pitchers are African-American?

BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.

(Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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