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O'Conner named to MLB diversity group04/10/2013 3:10 PM ET
Major League Baseball
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig today announced the creation of an On-Field Diversity Task Force to address the talent pipeline that impacts the representation and development of diverse players and on-field personnel in Major League Baseball, particularly African-Americans.
The wide-ranging group, which includes representatives from club ownership, club front offices, MLB's central office, Minor League Baseball, former players, the Major League Baseball Players Association, the MLB Scouting Bureau, and collegiate baseball, will focus on the myriad of issues influencing on-field diversity at all levels of baseball.
"As a social institution, Major League Baseball has an enormous social responsibility to provide equal opportunities for all people, both on and off the field," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "I am proud of the work we have done thus far with the RBI program and the MLB Urban Youth Academies, but there is more that we must accomplish. We have seen a number of successful efforts with existing MLB task forces, and I believe we have selected the right people to effectively address the many factors associated with diversity in baseball."
Members of the Commissioner's On-Field Diversity Task Force:
According to the Player Diversity Report (released on 11/13/12), the diversity of the Player Profile on 40-Man Major League rosters was 62 percent Caucasian, 28 percent Hispanic, 8 percent African-American, 1 percent Asian, and 0.2 percent Native American. And according to MLB records, which is a collection of data compiled by the clubs, the percentage of players on 2013 Opening Day, 25-man Major League rosters who identified themselves as African-American or black was approximately 8.5 percent, which is in a consistent range with the past few years. The first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft featured the selections of seven African-American players, the most by total and percentage (7-of-31, 22.6 percent) since 1992.
Major League Baseball operates two youth initiatives designed specifically to address on-field diversity:
The Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and its Jr. RBI playing divisions provide opportunities for young people (ages 5 to 18) from underserved communities to play baseball and softball. RBI has served more than 1 million young people since 1989, and in 2012 had more than 210,000 participants around the country, in Canada and in Latin America. MLB Clubs have drafted more than 200 RBI participants, including 14 players in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
MLB Urban Youth Academies provide free, year-round and intensive baseball and softball instruction and educational programs for young people from underserved and urban communities. Seven MLB Urban Youth Academies are either operational or in development around the country and in Puerto Rico (Operational: Compton, Calif.; Houston, Texas; New Orleans, La.; and Gurabo, Puerto Rico; In development: Cincinnati, Ohio; Hialeah, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa). MLB Urban Youth Academies have served more than 10,000 young people, with more than 90 percent of participants in the United States reflecting a diverse segment of the respective local communities. Since 2006, nearly 200 Academy student-athletes have been selected in the First-Year Player Draft, including 17 in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.