POSTED: Monday, April 15, 2013 - 9:00pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 15, 2013 - 11:57pm
BATON ROUGE, LA —
On the day when Major League Baseball celebrates the legacy of Jackie Robinson Day, Southern baseball head coach Roger Cador appeared on ESPN's Sportscenter to discuss his appointment to the MLB On-Field Diversity Task Force.
Cador discussed his appointment to the 18-member group and the challenge of addressing the declining numbers of African-American on MLB rosters. The 29-year veteran also shared his thoughts on Jackie Robinson's impact on the game of baseball and society when Robinson broke baseballs color barrier 66 years ago.
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced the creation of an On-Field Diversity Task Force April 10 to address the talent pipeline that impacts the representation and development of diverse players and on-field personnel in Major League Baseball, particularly African-Americans.
The wide-ranging group, which includes representatives from club ownership, club front offices, MLB's central office, Minor League Baseball, former players, the Major League Baseball Players Association, the MLB Scouting Bureau, and collegiate baseball, will focus on the myriad of issues influencing on-field diversity at all levels of baseball.
"As a social institution, Major League Baseball has an enormous social responsibility to provide equal opportunities for all people, both on and off the field," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "I am proud of the work we have done thus far with the RBI program and the MLB Urban Youth Academies, but there is more that we must accomplish. We have seen a number of successful efforts with existing MLB task forces, and I believe we have selected the right people to effectively address the many factors associated with diversity in baseball."
Members of the Commissioner's On-Field Diversity Task Force:
* Stuart Sternberg -- Principal owner, Tampa Bay Rays; MLB Diversity Oversight Committee Chairman
* Dave Dombrowski -- President, chief executive officer & general manager, Detroit Tigers; On-Field Diversity Task Force Chairman
* Tom Brasuell -- MLB vice president of community affairs (representing Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)
* Roger Cador -- Baseball head coach, Southern University (Historically Black College & University)
* Tony Clark -- Director of player services, Major League Baseball Players Association
* Larry Dolan -- Cleveland Indians; MLB Diversity Oversight Committee advisor
* Dennis Gilbert -- Special assistant to Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf
* Derrick Hall -- President & chief executive officer, Arizona Diamondbacks
* Wendy Lewis -- MLB senior vice president of diversity & strategic alliances
* Jerry Manuel -- MLB network analyst; Major League manager (1998-2003; 2008-2010); 2000 A.L. Manager of the Year
* Frank Marcos -- Senior director, MLB Scouting Bureau
* Jonathan Mariner -- MLB executive vice president and chief financial officer
* Darrell Miller -- MLB vice president of youth & facility development (representing MLB Urban Youth Academy)
* Bernard Muir -- Athletic director, Stanford University
* Kim Ng -- MLB senior vice president of baseball operations
* Pat O'Conner -- President & chief executive officer, Minor League Baseball
* Frank Robinson -- Hall of Famer; MLB executive vice president of baseball development
* Ken Williams -- Executive vice president, Chicago White Sox
According to the Player Diversity Report (released on 11/13/12), the diversity of the Player Profile on 40-Man Major League rosters was 62 percent Caucasian, 28 percent Hispanic, 8 percent African-American, 1 percent Asian, and 0.2 percent Native American. And according to MLB records, which is a collection of data compiled by the clubs, the percentage of players on 2013 Opening Day, 25-man Major League rosters who identified themselves as African-American or black was approximately 8.5 percent, which is in a consistent range with the past few years. The first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft featured the selections of seven African-American players, the most by total and percentage (7-of-31, 22.6 percent) since 1992.
Major League Baseball operates two youth initiatives designed specifically to address on-field diversity:
The Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and its Jr. RBI playing divisions provide opportunities for young people (ages 5 to 18) from underserved communities to play baseball and softball. RBI has served more than 1 million young people since 1989, and in 2012 had more than 210,000 participants around the country, in Canada and in Latin America. MLB Clubs have drafted more than 200 RBI participants, including 14 players in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
MLB Urban Youth Academies provide free, year-round and intensive baseball and softball instruction and educational programs for young people from underserved and urban communities. Seven MLB Urban Youth Academies are either operational or in development around the country and in Puerto Rico (Operational: Compton, Calif.; Houston, Texas; New Orleans, La.; and Gurabo, Puerto Rico; In development: Cincinnati, Ohio; Hialeah, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa). MLB Urban Youth Academies have served more than 10,000 young people, with more than 90 percent of participants in the United States reflecting a diverse segment of the respective local communities. Since 2006, nearly 200 Academy student-athletes have been selected in the First-Year Player Draft, including 17 in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.