Deion Sanders Shares Why He Thinks There Are So Few Black Players In The MLB Today

Major League Baseball has the lowest percentage of black baseball players since 1991, and Deion Sanders believes he knows why.

Sanders of course offers an interesting perspective of the situation seeing as how he played 641 MLB games over the course of nine seasons while spending 14 years in the NFL as well.

For Sanders, he believes that both the price to play baseball at a high level and fathers are playing a role in fewer black kids getting into the game.

“This is the problem with baseball,” he told Desi Banks on the ‘How It Goes Down’ podcast.

“Black fathers never played baseball so black fathers are not pushing their kids towards baseball. So, when the black father wants to play with his son, he puts in his hands what he’s accustomed to. Baseball is not the option.”

Baseball Is Far From A Cheap Sport To Get Into

For anyone that played high-level travel baseball or has put their kids on that path knows just how expensive it can be. Back when Sanders was playing as a kid baseball was much more affordable. Nowadays, a season of travel baseball can cost thousands of dollars. You add equipment and travel costs to the mix and you could easily be looking at a five-figure hit for a season of travel ball.

Sanders believes baseball has “priced out” black kids from the sport.

“Back when I was coming up we had a lot of African-Americans in Major League Baseball. Now that is not a thing because they priced us out as well,” Sanders said.

“Back when we played baseball in the little leagues it was so cool, maybe about a hundred or a hundred fifty dollars to register. To play on a select team now it’s at least two thousand. So kids are not playing it. They cannot afford it; they priced us out.”

According to the 2022 Racial and Gender Report Card, on Opening Day this season, 38.0% of MLB players were players of color. The percentage of black players was 7.2 percent, which is a 0.4 decrease from the year prior and the lowest that number has ever been since data started being collected in 1991.

Written by Mark Harris

12 Comments

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  1. He’s 100% correct. Baseball has become an elite sport that you can only play seriously if you have money. The bats, gloves, shoes, equipment, fees, travel teams…all priced insane now. It’s become a money maker instead of a sport to build character in kids for the love of the game. It’s all killing our greatest game. What a shame.

    • He’s correct to a degree but being “priced out” is kind of a cop out. There’re plenty of local little leagues kids can play the game where they don’t have to travel. When I played LL it was almost always at one sports complex where you have a handful of teams. Traveling to the same baseball fields is the same as traveling to the same YMCA to play basketball, and a lot of youth basketball leagues (AAU) are constantly traveling anyway.

      As for equipment, it can be pricey if you go all out and buy new shit every year but there are options like Play It Again sports where you can buy used equipment at discount. Then, consider how a lot of Latin American/Caribbean kids don’t have a pot to piss and yet still find a way to play.

      You also gotta factor in budgeting. How many broke people do you see with brand name shit? If you can afford to get you kids the newest J’s you can afford to get them Wilson gloves from Walmart.

      Honestly, I think it boils down to a lack of interest in baseball. If pricing was the main catalyst you’d see a ton of black kids playing soccer where all you really need are shinpads, cleats, and a ball.

    • Forgot to mention HS ball. That’s about as subsidized as it gets. The school covers the majority of the costs and the travel is free. Trust, if the demand was there you’d see it. I would encourage kids of all races to play the game but it’s not white people or society’s obligation to make sure we’re hitting quotas for minority participation in baseball.

    • This. 💯 no one asks that question because their answer would be, “we’re just better”—not ever understanding that this could be the case, percentage wise, for baseball, swimming, strength competitions, wrestling, hockey, cycling, shooting sports, etc. Maybe, just maybe, we are, as people groups, genetically descended to excel in different ways. No group is “supreme” but definitely different.

  2. Doubt it. There`s probably as many black players playing pro hockey these days as baseball and hockey is A LOT more expensive. I got a good laugh about Prime talking about black fathers not pushing their kids towards baseball…..you mean the 30% of black fathers that are still around for their kids?

    • Exactly. The majority of these black kids don’t have fathers who give two shits about them. Sanders is way off base. The Latino kids make it happen without money. Deion just playing into the victim bullshit.

  3. What about all those MLBs from Dominican Repub, PRico and Central America who go from playing with balls made from rolled-up socks … taped up broken bats … pieced together gloves playing on dirtfields with broken glass … while drug gangs are shooting up the stands … ???
    .
    Somehow those guys seem to transition pretty well to The Show … How come that Dion ???
    .

    • Their whole argument is based on travel ball being a prerequisite to becoming elite. Is it an advantage? Sure, but if that’s the reason you couldn’t make it to the show then you probably weren’t going in the first place. The 8 years you play and develop from HS to college/minor league is what really matters.

  4. Sanders using the generalized term “THEY” pretty easily. Just who is that “THEY” he references? What about white and hispanic kids who’s parents can’t afford the costs of travel or select teams? Is “THEY” pricing them out on purpose too?

    Deon is an incredible athlete and personality. I don’t damn him one bit for his accomplishments. When people start using that “THEY” term in a racial manner, he doesn’t help his case.

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