Major League Baseball earns top grade for racial hiring practices


Twins’ diversity lags far behind league progress

Second in an occasional series

The 2012 Major League Baseball Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC) released earlier this year gave the league an A for its racial hiring practices. “MLB has done an excellent job in continuing to increase the number of people of color in the League Office and for managers and coaches,” wrote RGRC Author Richard Lapchick, who is director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

Almost 32 percent of the MLB Central Office staff were people of color, but only 9.4 percent of the 426 employees are Black. There also has been a nine-percent decrease in the total number of people of color as general managers and a three percent decrease in managers of color since 2010.

Among top management (CEOs, presidents, general managers and vice presidents), there hasn’t been a person of color as a CEO or team president of an MLB club since 2003. Additionally, there are only two Black general managers and 19 Black executive vice-presidents, senior vice presidents and vice presidents.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig

Six percent of senior team administrators and six percent of professional administrators (not secretaries, receptionists, administrative assistants and staff assistants) also are Black, along with six Black team physicians (out of 103) and two Black head trainers (out of 61).

When asked about off-field diversity efforts during his visit to the Twin Cities in July, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told the MSR, “We spent a lot of time talking about [diversity]… I don’t know if I have a good answer. I know that I spend a lot of time talking to a lot of people and hundreds of hours talking about this.”

When pressed further, he admitted, “Baseball is a metaphor for life — it just doesn’t change overnight. In fact, we have more diversity than ever before in our history by far. We have a lot of diversity — we need to do better. I feel good about where we are and a long way from 20 years ago.”

Major League Baseball this year celebrated Jackie Robinson’s 65th anniversary of breaking the color barrier, and also saw baseball’s first Black owner when Earvin “Magic” Johnson joined the new ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“We need to do better in ownership and in other things. I’d like to see more [Black] general managers,” said Selig.

Sharon Robinson
Photos by Charles Hallman

“Whether we achieve that or not, I believe that is the underlying goal of our commissioner,” noted Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s daughter. She added that MLB’s diversity initiatives are “as important to…being inclusive as hiring of managers, which are team-specific.” That would include the Diversity Economic Impact Engagement Initiative, one of its newest programs to improve MLB’s current workforce in its central office, teams and minor leagues

“We have a nice percentage of minorities working in our front office, somewhere around 20 percent,” added Kevin Coe, who works in the Chicago White Sox front office, which includes Senior Vice-President and General Manager Ken Williams, who is Black. “I think we do a great job.”

In contrast, the Minnesota Twins have no Blacks in any top management role and last week fired their only Black coach.

“We worked hard over the last 20 years as an organization in all facets of our business from a front-office perspective, from minor league coaching [and] scouts,” responded Twins President Dave St. Peter to a question from the MSR on his club’s diversity efforts.

“Can we do better? Yes, I do think we can do better as an industry [and] an organization. It’s a constant priority for us to make sure that opportunities are provided for people of all backgrounds and all colors. I think that aspect of diversity is important for any organization to mirror society. That’s certainly is our objective with the Minnesota Twins,” St. Peter said.




Next: The 2012 National Football League RGRC

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Photos by Charles Hallman