Major League Baseball is ‘failing’ in its attempt to increase front-office diversity and the issue could get worse – Los Angeles Times

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking baseball’s color barrier, and the 45th anniversary of his last public appearance. He had accepted an invitation to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the 1972 World Series but had no interest in serving as a prop for the sport to pat itself on the back.

He stood dignified on the field in Cincinnati, in coat and tie, his hair turned silver, his hands clasped and his head bowed as he listened to Bowie Kuhn, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, bestow plaudits upon him. Robinson then stepped forward to accept a plaque, and gave a 17-second speech that challenges baseball to this day.

“Thank you very much, commissioner,” he said. “I am extremely proud and pleased to be here this afternoon, but must admit I’m going to be tremendously more pleased and more proud when I look at that third-base coaching line one day and see a black face managing in baseball. Thank you very much.”

Robinson died nine days later. By 1987 — 40 years after Robinson’s debut — three black men had been hired and fired as manager, one as general manager, and the number of African Americans in each category had returned to zero.


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