It looks like history is repeating itself. There seem to be no U.S.-born Black baseball players in this World Series, which hadn’t happened since the 1950s when Major League Baseball legend and civil rights activist Jackie Robinson broke the barrier.
The teams competing in this World Series are the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros, where Latin players are on the teams, like Jose Altuve, who plays for the Astros, and Jean Segura, who plays for the Phillies, but not any U.S.-born Black players.
“That is eye-opening,” Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, said. “It is somewhat startling that two cities that have high African American populations, there’s not a single Black player.”
Kendrick continued, “It lets us know there’s obviously a lot of work to be done to create opportunities for Black kids to pursue their dream at the highest level.”
Dusty Baker, who played outfielder in 1981 for the Dodgers, managed the Astros and spoke on the unfortunate situation.
“It looks bad,” Baker spoke at a press conference. “It lets people know that…it didn’t take a year or even a decade to get to this point. But there is help on the way.”
For the first time since Jackie Robinson’s early days as a big leaguer, no U.S.-born Black players are expected to play in the World Series.
“It looks bad,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said today. “But there is help on the way.”
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) October 27, 2022
Since the 1950s, every team to make the World Series has had at least one black U.S.-born player. Except for 2005, when the Astros didn’t. Some of the greatest Black players who ever played in the World Series are Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, and more. And during their reign as MLB legends, baseball was a dominant sport in America. However, other sports, like basketball and football, took the crown over the years because baseball is pricier.
According to Rick Best, a baseball coach with a son ranked as one of the top middle outfielders in the U.S., the rise in popularity of other sports and the cost of traveling while in youth baseball led to the decline in interest among Black players.
“Travel ball is so expensive; it prices many of our players out of the game,” Best said. “With the closing down of HBCU programs and high school programs being dissolved secondary to Covid, talented Black athletes never get the exposure they need to progress to the big leagues.”
Despite baseball not being popular among Black athletes, there’s still diversity considering it’s popular among Afro-Hispanics who will be represented in this World Series.