Why Major League Umps Are 91% White

Low turnover, endless stints in the minors scare minority talent away
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2007 11:55 AM CST
New umpires have a long, tough (base) path ahead of them.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Wonder why minority umpires are about as common in Major League Baseball as inside-the-park home runs? Incredibly low turnover and 10- to 12-year, poorly paid minor-league apprenticeships, that's why, the LA Times reports. Only seven umps have have been called up from the minors since 2000, helping account for the fact that only six of MLB’s 70 full-time umps are minorities.

Umpires in the majors make plenty, but trainees laboring in the minors have to live on $450 to $600 a week—with no promise that they'll get called up if they stick it out.  “It's not attractive at all,” says one trainer, who was a promising ump before dropping out. “Try to tell these kids, 'Hey, you may not make it. But give me five to 10 years of your prime to find out.'”