By John Schlegel, MLB.com
Major League Baseball received the same high grades as a year ago for its practices regarding race and gender hiring and has roughly the same percentage of African-Americans in the Major Leagues heading into 2010 as it did in 2009, according to a report released Thursday.
An annual study conducted by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida gave MLB an A for race and a B for gender hiring. It also noted that the number of African-American players rose slightly to 9.1 percent over last year's 9 percent.
The Racial and Gender Report Card on MLB, conducted by TIDES director Dr. Richard Lapchick, noted that within the steady grades were gains throughout several categories for race and gender hiring in baseball's front offices.
"We are pleased that the 2010 Lapchick study reflects our institutional commitment, led by Commissioner Selig, to sound hiring practices and diverse participation at all levels of our game," said MLB spokesman Pat Courtney.
In the report, Lapchick said MLB's central and team front offices "look like America" and that the industry as a whole has made great strides in recent years to get to a high level of diversity.
"There are strong records for race in the Commissioner's office as well as at the levels of manager, coach, general manager and the professional administrators of teams," Lapchick said in the report's executive summary. "Baseball received no grade below a B in any category. MLB continues to have an outstanding record for Diversity Initiatives which include the fourth annual Civil Rights Game, Jackie Robinson Day and Roberto Clemente Day."
The study's listings of professional owners, general managers, managers and players were updated as of March 1, 2010. At the start of the 2010 season, MLB had nine managers of color: four African-American, four Hispanic, one Asian; and there were five general managers of color, two Latino and three African-Americans.
The report noted that at the start of the 2010 season, the total Major League players of color were 40.2 percent, close to MLB's record high of 40.6 percent in the 2008 season. The slight rise to 9.1 percent from 9 percent in the number of African-Americans in the sport follows 10.2 percent in 2008.
"This has been a concern of Major League Baseball and leaders in the African-American community," Lapchick said in the report. "However, the 40.2 percent also make the playing fields look more like (America) with its dramatically increasing Latino population. There is no doubt that the best players are on the field irrespective of their heritage.
"We started the RGRC to encourage more diversity in who runs the game. MLB has made great strides in that direction and is now one of the best in sports."
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.