Maybe, at long last, there is hope.
Major League Baseball, a $9 billion industry, finally is making inroads into solving one of its greatest concerns.
Major League Baseball, which will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day throughout every ballpark Wednesday, is represented by only 7.8% of African-Americans among the 868 players on the opening-day rosters and disabled lists, according to a study by USA TODAY Sports.
Yet that percentage remains flat from a year ago, and the total number of players has gone up, with 68 African-Americans on opening-day rosters.
The numbers sound modest, but after nearly three decades of decline, they represent promise.
Actually, big-time promise.
It’s a far cry from 1986, when 19% of major leaguers were African American. Yet, within these numbers and others, there’s signs of aninflux of young African-Americans entering the game.
Examining the rosters, 65% of the African-American players are 30 years old or younger this season.
Most encouraging, 18 African-Americans have been selected in the first round of the June amateur draft since 2012. When seven African-Americans were drafted two years ago in the first round, it represented the highest percentage since 1992.