This year will be the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League Baseball (MLB) debut, one of baseball’s remarkable moments that embraced diversity and inclusion.
It’s baseball season once again! MLB’s regular season officially opened with nine Opening Day contests, including seven divisional matchups, last 7th of April 2022. The 2022 season will follow the revised schedule that highlights 31 doubleheaders.
The North American professional baseball organisation MLB is comprised of thirty teams that competed both in the American League and the National League. Among the US fans, MLB has been voted the second most popular men’s professional sports league in 2019, next to the National Football League (NFL). In a survey conducted last year, the baseball league continues to be one of the most favourite sports leagues having 21% avid fans and 34% casual fans among the respondents.
Championing Diversity and Inclusion
With a long history that traces back to 1903, though the rules pretty much stayed the same, MLB has witnessed outstanding evolution in terms of offering equal opportunities to qualified players since Jackie Robinson’s historic debut 75 years ago. Robinson broke the league’s “color barrier” when he officially played for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
Fast forward to 2022, MLB continues to embrace diversity and inclusion recording a slight increase from 37.6% to 38% of the 975 players on Opening Day rosters and inactive lists coming from diverse backgrounds (Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American). On a collegiate level, there is the Andre Dawson Classic, an annual, round-robin collegiate baseball tournament designed by Major League Baseball to highlight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The collegiate league showed an outstanding 112% increase in the alumni of MLB Develops programs compared to 2020.
Beyond the field, MLB’s 2022 season demonstrates inclusivity more than ever with 11 women in on-field or player development positions in the Majors and Minors. This roster includes the first full-time woman manager in affiliated baseball history and Single-A Tampa manager Rachel Balkovec and the first woman coach in MLB history and Giants assistant coach Alyssa Nakken. In addition, Kim Ng is now in her second season as general manager of Marlin’s.
College Baseball- Home of Hall of Famers
For international students, it would be comforting to know that baseball today is a sport that welcomes diversity. More importantly, for those who either want to try baseball or want to qualify for a baseball scholarship in their prospective university in the US, having a general knowledge of the who’s who in the MLB and from which college they came would be a great motivation.
Here are some of the colleges that brought huge and diverse MLB talents:
Arizona State University. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, Paul Lo Duca, and Andre Ethier have studied at ASU.
The University of Southern California. USC has produced 118 MLB talents including Hall of Famers Randy Johnson and Tom Seaver.
The University of Michigan. The Wolverines is known to be the only university with three Hall of Famers–Charles Gehringer, Barry Larkin, and George Sisler.
The University of Minnesota. The Gophers had produced two Hall of Famers– Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield– n and other noteworthy MLB talents namely Denny Neagle, Glen Perkins, and Terry Steinbach
Columbia University. Hall of Famers Eddie Collins and Lou Gehrig are alumni of Columbia.