Posted on October 27, 2022

No US-Born Black Players on Expected World Series Rosters

Ben Walker, Associated Press, October 25, 2022

Looking around Memorial Stadium before Game 1 of the 1983 World Series, Philadelphia Phillies star Gary Matthews saw a lot of Black talent.

Joe Morgan. Eddie Murray. Garry Maddox. Ken Singleton. Al Bumbry. Disco Dan Ford. And plenty more that night in Baltimore.

“There were quite a few of us,” Matthews recalled.

When fans watch the Houston Astros and Phillies line up this week to begin the Fall Classic, it will be a much different picture.

To be sure, Houston’s Jose Altuve and Philadelphia’s Jean Segura are among scores of Latin players helping keep big league rosters diverse.

But for the first time since 1950, shortly after Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier, there project to be no U.S.-born Black players in this World Series.


“That is eye opening,” said Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. “It is somewhat startling that two cities that have high African American populations, there’s not a single Black player.”

“It lets us know there’s obviously a lot of work to be done to create opportunities for Black kids to pursue their dream at the highest level,” he said.

Robinson debuted in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and played in the World Series that year. Since then, the 1950 matchup between the New York Yankees and Phillies has been the only World Series without a Black player.

Houston and Philadelphia will announce their 26-man rosters several hours before Game 1 on Friday night at Minute Maid Park, where Dusty Baker, a Black outfielder for the 1981 champion Los Angeles Dodgers, manages the Astros.

Starting in 1954 when Willie Mays and the New York Giants played against Larry Doby and Cleveland, every single team to reach the World Series had at least one U.S.-born Black player until the 2005 Astros did not.


By 2020, when the Dodgers beat Tampa Bay, Los Angeles star Mookie Betts was the only Black player in the World Series.

At the All-Star Game this summer at Dodger Stadium, Betts wore a T-shirt with the message: “We need more Black people at the stadium.”


“It’s the exclamation point,” said Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at Central Florida.


Lapchick, lead author for his group’s annual reports on diversity hiring practices in sports, said Black players made up 7.2% of opening day rosters this year. That dipped from 7.6% last year and marked the lowest since study data was first collected in 1991, when 18% of MLB players were Black.

The Phillies had no Black players on their opening roster this year for the first time since 1959. {snip}


MLB had 38% players of color on opening day rosters, including Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Jeremy Peña, Yuli Gurriel, Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez of the Astros and Segura, Ranger Suárez and Seranthony Domínguez of the Phillies.