This year's World Series between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies will likely feature zero U.S.-born Black players for the first time since 1950. During a media availability session on Thursday, Astros manager Dusty Baker shared his thoughts on what that means for baseball.
Baker told reporters it's not a good look for the game but remains positive about its future.
"I don't think that that's something that baseball should really be proud of," said Baker, who played 19 MLB seasons. "It looks bad. It let's people know it didn't take a year or even a decade to get to this point. But there is help on the way. You can tell by the number of African American No. 1 draft choices."
Dusty Baker asked about the fact this is the 1st World Series since 1950 without a U.S.-born Black player: “I don't think that that's something that baseball should really be proud of. It looks bad. It let's people know it didn't take a year or even a decade to get to this point” pic.twitter.com/N4WLPBqdyx— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 27, 2022
Major League Baseball Players Association director Tony Clark continued the conversation Friday afternoon ahead of Game 1.
"I can say I'm disappointed. I can say (it's) unfortunate. And I can [say] I'm not surprised," Clark said, as reported by USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "This is an issue that has been front and center for a long time.
"It is truly unfortunate that as any young Black player may be watching these games tonight is not going to see someone that looks like them. As a result, they may make a decision against continue to keep playing our great game and move to something else."
Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in the league on April 15, 1947. He and the Brooklyn Dodgers went on to compete in the World Series that year. Since then, only the Word Series between the Phillies and New York Yankees in 1950 didn't feature a U.S.-born Black player.
The Astros and Phillies do have some other players of color on their rosters. Houston has Jose Altuve from Venezuela and Philadelphia has Jean Segura from the Dominican Republic. Even so, Bob Kendrick -- president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. -- told the Associated Press it's "startling" to not see a U.S.-born Black player in the World Series.
"That is eye opening. It is somewhat startling that two cities that have high African American populations, there's not a single Black player," Kendrick said. "It lets us know there's obviously a lot of work to be done to create opportunities for Black kids to pursue their dream at the highest level."
The Astros are hosting the first two games of the Fall Classic on Friday and Saturday at Minute Maid Park. For the rest of the schedule and more information on how to watch,