by Ryan McMaken
For anyone who’s been following Major League Baseball in recent years, it’s apparent that the memo has gone out that now is the time to wring one’s hands over a lack of African-American players. Just this month, Hank Aaron lamented that MLB is “a dying sport as far as African-Americans [are concerned.]”
But Aaron’s concern only makes sense if one uses the term “African-American” in the strictest sense possible. That is, to see a significant decline in the number of African-Americans, one must count only native-born Americans of African descent, and not count the sizable number of Major League players of African descent who were born in places like Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Any casual observer watching baseball, upon hearing of an alleged shortage of African Americans, might look at Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Yasiel Puig and wonder why we’re being told there are no black athletes.