With the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42, in theaters everywhere tomorrow, it makes perfect sense that Major League Baseball is examining the sharp decline of black players in its ranks.

Bud Selig, the commissioner of the MLB, has created a task force designed to examine why there’s so few black athletes in baseball:

Commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday that he was creating a 17-member diversity task force to study and address the issue of on-field participation by African-Americans in Major League Baseball.

Only 8.5 percent of the players on the 25-man rosters on opening day were African-American. Several teams, including the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, had none. The highest percentage of African-Americans playing in the majors, according to new research by Mark Armour from the Society of American Baseball Research, was 19 percent in 1986.


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Before he integrated the MLB, Jackie Robinson played in the Negro Leagues, a professional baseball league comprises entirely of black players, as the name suggests. Once blacks were able to play in the MLB, however, the Negro League folded.


Why are so few black athletes turning to baseball?

Will the movie 42 rekindle interest in the game?

Is black participation in the MLB crucial?

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