MLB gets ‘B-’ grade in annual diversity report

Why this matters

Monitoring the diverse hiring practices of major sports leagues keeps the public pressure on the businesses to reflect their employees (athletes) and their viewing public.

Major league baseball once again received a B- grade from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida when the institute released its MLB Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC).

TIDES publishes racial and gender report cards for professional and collegiate sports to track the improvement or regression of diverse hiring in the front offices or collegiate athletic departments in American leagues and universities.

The league received an overall grade of ‘B-’ in the latest report, earning an ‘A-’ grade for racial hiring and a ‘C’ grade for gender hiring. MLB improved its racial hiring practices from 88 percent in 2018 to 89 percent in 2019, while its gender hiring practices grade fell from 71 percent in 2018 to 70 in 2019, according to the report.

The report card was released to coincide with Jackie Robinson Day on April 15.

“Jackie Robinson’s legacy and vision carries on 72 years after he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball,” Dr. Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the report card, said. “He played for a future of baseball where all people can participate on and off the field. The 2019 Major League Baseball Racial and Gender Report Card shows baseball is moving in the right direction, but there must be more urgency to make Jackie’s vision a reality”

The report notes that although 41 percent of MLB players are minorities, just 8.4 percent of players that appeared on opening day rosters in 2018 were African American. Lapchick noted the number was more than double (18 percent) that in 1991.

Commissioner Rob Manfred and the league office have implemented a number of diversity initiatives in recent years to address diversity issues, according to the report. Those initiatives are:

  • Diversity Pipeline Program: Program seeks to identify, develop, and grow the pool of qualified minority and female candidates for on-field and baseball operations positions.
  • MLB Diversity Fellowship: Program provides the opportunity for young, diverse professionals to gain experience in front office positions that traditionally have been influential in baseball operations decisions.
  • Diverse Business Partners Program: Program cultivates new and existing partnerships with minority- and women-owned businesses, including veteran-owned, LGBT-owned and other underrepresented small businesses.

The report also mentioned:

  • For the player category, MLB received a racial hiring grade of A+ (41 percent people of color).
  • For the team manager category, MLB received a racial hiring grade of B (16.7 percent minorities) and the coaches category received a racial hiring grade of A+ (43.9 percent minorities).
  • For the team president of baseball operations/GM category, MLB received a racial hiring grade of C- (13.3 percent).
  • For the team senior administration category, MLB earned a racial hiring grade of B (19.4 percent) and gender hiring grade of C (28.6 percent women).

TJ Mathewson is a junior journalism student at Arizona State University