Study: Percentage of blacks in MLB rises
Commissioner's Office lauded for diversity initiatives
Jackie Robinson's influence in Major League Baseball is still strongly felt -- even 62 years after he crossed the color barrier.
A recent study says that the percentage of black players in the Major Leagues increased last year for the first time since the 1995 season.
In 2008, black players in MLB increased to 10.2 percent after reaching a low of 8.2 percent the previous season, according to a report by The Associated Press. The study was done by Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.
MLB received an A for race hiring in this year's report, which was released Wednesday. Last year, it got an A-minus. In addition, Lapchick cited the presence of 10 minority managers at the start of the 2009 season, which matched the previous high set in '02.
Lapchick added that the percentage of minority employees in the Commissioner's Office went up from 28 percent to 34 percent.
The sport also got a B for gender hiring, up from a C-plus. Its overall grade went up from B to B-plus.
"Bud Selig has led the way on these issues in MLB, which achieved this through strong records for race in the Commissioner's Office, as well as at the levels of manager, coach, general manager and the professional administrators of teams," Lapchick said. "MLB continues to have an outstanding record for diversity initiatives."
Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.