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.