Posted on August 20, 2021

MLB Umpires Show Discrimination Against Non-White Players, According to New Study

Chris Cwik, Yahoo, August 13, 2021

A new study suggests MLB umpires discriminate against non-white players, according to Hank Snowdon, a student at Claremont McKenna.

The study used balls and strikes data from the past 13 seasons to determine the rate of missed calls against certain players. Snowdon determined which should-be strikes were called balls, which balls were erroneously called strikes and then looked at the race of the umpire, batter and pitcher. What Snowdon found was that umpires made more advantageous calls when their race was the same as the person receiving the advantage.

The difference amounts to 0.3 percent, which, while small, can be significant over the course of a single season, according to Robert Arthur of Baseball Prospectus.


Arthur also pointed out that 90 percent of the umpires in MLB were white {snip}

While white umpires gave more favorable calls to white players, that was also the case with Latino umps. {snip}


Calls for robot umps have grown in popularity as pitch-tracking technology has improved. {snip}

While the right technology could cut down on racial biases that currently exist in umpiring, using technology to call balls and strikes won’t be perfect. {snip}