Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game
After peaking at 27% of all major leaguers in 1975, African Americans now make up less than one tenth—a decline unseen and unimaginable in other men's pro sports. Latin Americans, by contrast, currently represent more than a quarter of all major leaguers and about 50% of those in the minors. Now, more Dominicans play in the majors than African Americans, and soon as many Venezuelans will be on the field. The story of African Americans and Latinos in Major League Baseball is typically one of shameful segregation. But for players of colour, integration was also painful--among its other costs, it decimated the formerly vibrant Negro Leagues, one of the first national black institutions to emerge after Reconstruction, and often grouped Latin players into Jim Crow racism. Integration on MLB's exploitative terms costs black and Caribbean communities control over their own sporting lives. In its wake, black owners, general managers, umpires, and eventually fans disappeared from professional baseball. Today, MLB embraces the legacy of the Negro Leagues as a way to better market itself. By imposing its imperial will on black America and the Caribbean, MLB has achieved unprecedented prosperity. For the first time, a brilliant baseball historian puts the pieces together and unveils a fresh and stunning argument: baseball has never been stronger as a business, never weaker as a game.
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