(CNSNews.com) – “The decline in the presence of fathers in the homes of African American children partially explains the massive 60% decline in African American representation in Major League Baseball over the last 35 years,” according to a new study by the Texas-based Austin Institute for the Study of Family & Culture.
“The large drop in African-American baseball players in the 1990s occurred about 20 years after the time period of greatest decrease in black children born to married parents,” noted the study, entitled Called Out At Home.
“It takes a father to make a professional baseball player,” the study concluded.
“Starting in the late 1970s and accelerating through the ‘80s and ‘90s, African American representation took a curious downward turn. Now less than half of what it once was, black representation has plummeted from over 18% of all pro players to just 7%. In fact, this year marks the lowest African American representation in the pros since Jackie Robinson retired in 1959,” the study pointed out.
Of the 862 players on opening day rosters in 2016, just 69 (8%) were African Americans, according to a report in April by USA Today. The study excluded foreign-born black players, focusing specifically on black players born and raised in the United States.
The Boston Red Sox, which was the last MLB team to integrate, had four African American players on its active roster this season – the highest of any team, according to Jackie Powell at overthemonster.com.
The Austin Institute study found that the decrease in African American MLB players coincided with a rise in out-of-wedlock births two decades earlier.
“As with many complex social phenomena, there are surely multiple factors causally contributing to such a steep decline,” which “began about 20 years after a sharp rise in out-of-wedlock childbirths,” the study continued.
“Anyone who has seen baseball movies from The Sandlot to Field of Dreams will instantly recognize the deep connection baseball has to father-son relationships in America. What is new is having the data and analysis to show that the effects are more than anecdotes or nostalgia,” the study noted.
“Controlling for multiple other factors that might influence the outcome, counties where a higher percentage of children are born to married parents also produce a higher percentage of baseball players,” it stated. Read the whole thing