Major League Baseball teams could do a better job of hiring minority candidates for managing and GM posts or women for VP and other administrative positions, according to an annual report released Wednesday.
The study is overseen by Richard Lapchick of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida and is similar in scope to those he conducts examining other leagues.
Baseball teams were given a grade of C-plus for racial hiring practices for managers.
Three of the 30 skippers in the majors are minorities: Dusty Baker of the Washington Nationals, Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves. There were 10 as recently as 2009, according to the report.
Noting also that only four current general managers are minorities, Lapchick said in a telephone interview: “Baseball needs to re-emphasize the importance of having a diverse … (group of) people running the game.”
Last week, Baker mentioned by name some minority candidates “out there that aren’t even getting a sniff. I think about Jackie Robinson – there’s probably times when Jackie wouldn’t be pleased right now very much.”
Asked why there are black candidates not being considered for managerial jobs, Baker replied: “Hey man, I’m not hiring. I’ve got my thoughts, but don’t ask me. You’ve got to ask those that are doing the hiring.”
The grades given to MLB’s central office – an A-plus for racial hiring practices and B-minus for gender hiring practice – were far better than at the club level. As for female candidates, teams received an F for hiring vice presidents, a C for senior team administration positions, and another C for professional administration.
“In terms of opportunities for women,” Lapchick said, “there’s a lot left to be desired.”
He thinks MLB should make clubs include minority and female candidates in the interview process for all VP and senior administrative roles.
“That would dramatically change things,” Lapchick said.
“From my point of view, if they can influence the clubs to have a mandatory, diverse pool of candidates for senior administrative positions, that’s going to make a major difference,” he said.
Lapchick praised MLB for being the best major sports league when it comes to “bringing in minority- and women-owned businesses as vendors at the league and team level.”
Overall, MLB was given a grade of A in racial hiring and C/C-plus in gender hiring, similar to 2015. There was a small increase in the score for racial hiring practices, from 90.4 to 90.5, and a small decline in the score for gender hiring, from 74.4 to 74.3. The combined grade of B was the same as a year ago.
The study also found that baseball’s 2015 amateur draft had the highest percentage of black players taken in the first round – nine of 36 players, 25 percent – since 1992.
On this month’s opening day 25-man rosters, 8.3 percent of players identified themselves as black or African-American, the same percentage as a year ago.
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Freelancer Ian Quillen in Washington contributed to this report.
This version corrects team Fredi Gonzalez currently manages to Atlanta Braves in 4th paragraph.