Black Players Drop to 8.2 Percent of Major Leaguers

Lowest number in two decades
By Doug Sweeney,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2008 1:29 AM CDT
Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Howard, right foreground, follows through on his eighth-inning solo home run off New York Mets reliever Aaron Heilman (not shown) in their baseball game at Shea Stadium.    (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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(Newser) – Major League Baseball received its best grade for racial diversity in hiring, even as the percentage of black players dropped again last year. MLB received its first A- for race Tuesday from Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. Its grade was B+ in last year's study.

Among major leaguers, though, just 8.2 percent were black players, down from 8.4 percent in 2006 and the lowest level in at least two decades. "I'm very disappointed by that fact," said Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson. "Competition from other sports is certainly a big factor, but they're many factors. We've got to work on it in terms of getting younger children playing.”