The San Francisco Giants, reigning World Series champions, are the only Major League Baseball club that doesn’t have any African-American players at their spring training camp in Scottsdale, A.Z.
An observation made by CSN’s Andrew Baggarly notes that during one of the highlights of camp, in which legendary baseball player Willie Mays joins current players, “Mays, and his assistant, were the only people of African-American heritage” there.
The number of black players in Major League Baseball has been on the decline. Last year, a mere 8.05 percent of MLB players were African-American, as compared to the 17.25 percent in 1959, the first year all teams were integrated, reports USA Today.
The San Francisco Giants are known for several iconic black players, including Mays and Monte Irvin.
Giants’ general manager Brian Sabean was reportedly “stunned” by Baggarly’s observation as well. Sabean believes that the declining amount of opportunity for black baseball players directly correlates with the declining number of college scholarships.
This year’s Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, will mark 66 years since the color barrier in Major League Baseball was broken, and aside from a future trade or signing, there won’t be one African-American representing San Francisco.
“At one point in time, baseball was our sport,” said Bob Kendrick, the President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. told theGrio last spring. “Seeing these numbers dwindling in Major League Baseball is very disconcerting.”
Kendrick feels the African-American decline in baseball is due partly to the lack of resources in urban areas.
“(African-Americans) have a rich history and a rich tradition in baseball and we don’t want to lose that,” Kendrick said. “This problem didn’t happen overnight and the solutions won’t come overnight. We have to be committed for the long haul if we want to objectively address this issue of the lack of participation.”
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.