Study confirms: everyone overstates the decline in African Americans playing Major League Baseball

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We talked about this yesterday, but here’s a story from MLB.com focusing on our friend Mark Armour’s research into the decline of U.S.-born blacks playing Major League Baseball. The upshot: that “27% of ballplayers were African American in the 1970s” stuff you here is pure rebop. Armour:

“What I determined, and I [analyzed data from 1947, when Jackie Robinson made his debut] up to 1986 … is that the number never got to 20 percent. The black-player number, counting all dark-skinned players, was in the high 20s for a period. But not the African-American number. All the press stuff that comes out every April compares the African-American numbers from today with the all-black-players number from the ’70s. And that’s where they make their mistake.”

The folks who peddle that 27 percent number may have their hearts in the right place, but if you’re in the business of counting noses rather than looking at the bigger picture, and you can’t even count the noses right, no one should be listening to you.

Tom Ricketts says the Cubs don’t have any more money

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Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.

First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.

More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:

The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.