Back in the mid-nineties I met an African American man in Atlanta, it was midsummer, and upon learning I was from the St. Louis area we struck up a conversation about the St. Louis Cardinals. He had been a baseball coach in the majors but now owned a limousine company.
I shared my memories from the 60’s and 70’s and how much I admired former greats like Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Curt Flood. I even had a glove signed by Flood whom I was fortunate to meet later at a charity event.
When I inquired as to why he was no longer involved with the MLB he said the owners had decided there was more money to be made promoting the careers of Latino players versus African/Americans. I was skeptical and ask why, it made no sense to me. But he explained that there was a huge market for anything “baseball” in Latin America. Broadcasting revenue, video tapes, fan merchandise, etc., etc.
He suggested I look at the numbers comparing the number of African/American players versus the number of Latino players and watch how the ratio was going to change over the next 20 years. I have now and see what he was talking about. It’s not about race it is all about the money. But the collateral damage to young African/American athletes aspiring to follow in the footsteps of Bob Gibson, Hank Aaron and all the other great Hall of Fame African/Americans I admired and cheered for in the past is obvious!
I had not thought about that conversation years ago until this past week when the owners of MLB took the All-Star Game away from Atlanta and gave it to the city of Denver in an attempt to portray themselves as dedicated supporters of African/Americans.
Here are the numbers which clearly show the incredible hypocrisy of the MLB owners.
YEAR WHITE BLACK LATINO
1990 69% 17% 15%
1995 64% 16% 19%
2000 61% 13% 25%
2005 61% 9% 28%
2010 63% 8% 27%
2015 63% 7% 28%
And as many others have noted, the game, and all the economic benefits, have been moved from a predominately black city to a predominantly white city.