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MLB: Data shows dramatic decrease in black players, surge in Latin players

By
Alex Butler
All-Stars Jean Segura (L) and Jose Ramirez (R) both hail from the Dominican Republic. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
All-Stars Jean Segura (L) and Jose Ramirez (R) both hail from the Dominican Republic. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 18 (UPI) -- New data shows dramatic changes in ethic makeup experienced by Major League Baseball over a 50-year time period.

The data follows the celebration of Jackie Robinson Day. Professional baseball players sported No. 42 on their jerseys to honor Robinson on Monday, after he broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 as the first African American player in the game.

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The Hall of Famer went on to play for 10 seasons, wrapping up his career with a .311 batting average, 137 home runs and 197 stolen bases.

By 1981, 18.7 percent of MLB players were African Americans. But by 2017, only 6.7 percent of MLB players were African Americans. While the number of African Americans in the league fell, the number of Latino players began to rise.

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Latino players replaced African American players as the second most dominant race/ethnicity in MLB by 1993. By 2017, 27.4 percent of MLB players were Latinos, according to the date compiled by the Society of American Baseball Research.

In 1947, less than 1 percent of MLB players -- three or four -- were from Latin America. Opening day rosters in 2019 included 90 players from the Dominican Republic, 53 from Venezuela, 20 from Cuba, 19 from Puerto Rico, eight from Mexico, six from Canada, six from Japan, five from Curacao, five from South Korea, four from Colombia and two from Germany.

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MLB opening day rosters included one player from several other countries, including: Australia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Aruba, Brazil and Panama.

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Curacao has sent 11 players to the MLB from 2000 to 2019, despite a population of just 161,000. That means the country has 25.73 MLB players per one million people in its population, leading all countries in that ratio. The United States has 3.07 MLB players per one million people based on the average number of players per year from 2000 to 2019.

The are 750 players on active MLB rosters each year, not including those on the injured list, suspended or on paternity leave.

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