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Jackie Robinson Day: How many black players are there in MLB?

Chadwick Boseman's first starring role in a movie was portraying baseball pioneer and star Jackie Robinson, whose day is celebrated every 15 April.

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Jackie Robinson Day: How many black players are there in MLB?

The first starring role in a movie of Chadwick Boseman, whose death at the age of 43 was announced today, Saturday, was playing baseball pioneer and star Jackie Robinson.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was the first African American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era and to commemorate his debut, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated every 15 April in Major League Baseball (MLB) with each player wearing number 42 to honor the player who broke baseball’s color barrier on 15 April, 1947. Every year on that date the league honors Jackie’s legacy by celebrating his life, values and accomplishments.

1956 was Robinson’s final year in the MLB - at that time African-Americans made up 6.7 percent of the league's rosters. Today that number has grown, but only very slightly to 7.7 percent, according to MLB. The lack of African-American participation in the sport goes hand-in-hand with the fan base, with Statista estimating that only 18 percent of African-Americans are avid fans while 58 percent have no interest in the game whatsover.

MLB signs of growth

At the start of the 2020 season, MLB saw a slight increase in the percent of Black players on opening-day rosters with 7.8 percent or 80 players around the league according to an analysis by USA Today Sports.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays did not have a single Black player in their opening-day roster and 14 of the 30 teams had two or less. The team with the most African-American players are the Mariners with a total of 12, including those at the team’s alternate camp.


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