Why is there a decline in blacks playing baseball? It’s Illegitimacy Stupid!!!

If you are a baseball fan you know that the number of blacks or African-Americans playing in the major leagues has steadily declined over the years.  In 2012 only 8.05% of players were black.  This is a sharp decline from 1975 when the number stood at 27%.


Year Ratio of Black Players
2012 8.05%
1995 19%
1975 27%
1959 17.25%

This provides a difficult problem for black America.  Their standard answer for all of black America’s problems, racism and poverty make no sense here. Can they really say that world is more racist now than it was in 1959 when the number of black players in the MLB was double what it is now?  In 1959 America was a segregated country and we had Jim Crow laws.  America now has affirmative action and a black president.  I am not saying we have ended racism.  Believe me I have seen racism but there no way you can say it is even close to as bad as it was in 1959.
How can they blame racism for this?  Because, as you know, all problems in the black community are caused by racism or poverty.  As black Americans we must never look for any alternative explanations.  Especially, not the destruction of the black family.  What could possibly go wrong with 70% of children being born without a father that is involved in their life?
That goes back to my original question. Can they really blame racism for this when there were more black players in Major League Baseball in 1959?

Of course they can.

Here is the USA today’s explanation:

“A dearth of collegiate scholarships, increasing cost of funding teams in inner cities and, some say, a lack of opportunities in major league front offices all have contributed to the paucity of African-American players.”

I like to offer a simpler explanation.  It’s Illegitimacy Stupid!!!

Year Black Players Year (Illegitimacy) Illegitimacy Rate
2012 8.05% 2010 72%
1995 19% 1995 69.9%
1975 27% 1975 48.8%
1959 17.25% 1960 22%

As you can see from the table above there appears to be a relationship between the rising illegitimacy rates and the decline of black basketball players.

Let’s compare basketball to baseball. Baseball is a sport in America that an involved father may be the biggest factor, other than athletic ability, to determine a player’s success on the diamond.  Those of who have fathers, cherish the memories of playing catch with our Dad or of having him throw us BP.  In basketball having a father or father figure is not as important as it is in baseball. Basically nurture rather than nature is more important to success in baseball than it is in basketball. Below are three reasons that I think make this so:

1.)    Baseball is primarily played in organized leagues.  Basketball is probably played more in a pick-up fashion than in organized leagues.  Who is going to sign up little Jamal to play basketball?  The father.  My mother probably doesn’t even know the righties need to buy a left-handed glove.  Your father is the one who is going to think it is important to play baseball and take the initiative to sign you up.  In basketball, a kid can just go to the local park and play.  If he is good his friends will encourage him to join an organized league.

–          We should expect to find fewer fatherless children in sports that are played primarily in organized leagues.

2.)    Baseball stresses skills more than athleticism and size. The skills of swinging a bat and throwing a baseball must be developed early when a child is between the ages of 6 and 10.  Basketball emphasizes athleticism and size more than skills.  There are centers (Hakeem Olajuwon is one example) who play in the NBA and didn’t pick a basketball until they were 14 or 15.  Yes, dribbling and shooting are important but a great athlete with size can negate the advantages a lesser, smaller athlete has with a better handle and jump shot.  In baseball the skill level is more important than size and athleticism and you must start learning those skills early.  Who is going to take little Jamal to T-Ball at 6 years old if he doesn’t have a father?  Nobody.

–          We should expect to find fewer fatherless children in sports that stress skills (like golf) more than athleticism and size (like football)

3.)    You can’t practice baseball by yourself.  You can go down to the basketball court and practice your dribbling and jump shot by yourself all day and night.  But with baseball you need a partner to play baseball with.  You need someone to hit you grounders and fly balls.  You need to someone to play catch with.  You need someone to throw you batting practice.  Who is going to play catch with little Jamal if he doesn’t have a father?  Nobody.

–          We should expect to find fewer fatherless children in sports that you can’t practice by yourself.

I compared the NBA to MLB and looked at the illegitimacy stats.  I used the 2012 NBA and MLB all-star game roosters as representative samples.  I don’t have the time and don’t even think it is feasible to look at every player in the MLB and the NBA.

I am only looking at American born blacks not Dominicans.  What is the definition of black?  The only legal definition we have ever had, one drop of blood makes you black.  So I am counting mulattos and black Hispanics born in this country as black. They would have had to drink out of the black water fountain.

I am counting as illegitimate anyone who was raised without their father involved in their life.  Those kids are basically functionally illegitimate.

There were 74 MLB all-stars and 16% (12) were black.  Only 2 of those 12, 17% were born illegitimate.  I am only definitely sure one is illegitimate, Adam Jones.  I can’t find a definite answer on the other, Ian Desmond.  I did find this article on the influence his mother had on his life that didn’t mention his father.  So I assuming he didn’t have a father.  Adam Jones didn’t have a father but he did have a step father since the age of six.  So I could easily include him in the legitimately born group.  He also grew up with another major leaguer, Quintin Berry.  How many major leaguers did you grow up with?  So he had plenty of nurture.

2010’s illegitimacy rate for blacks 72% is more than 4 times the illegitimacy rate of MLB 17%.  Maybe illegitimacy is a factor?  Nah, I am sure the only answer is RACISM AND POVERTY!

In the NBA there were 25 all-stars and 76% (19) were black.  47% of the black players (9) are illegitimate. The 47% is still significantly less than 72% illegitimacy rate for all blacks.  My argument is not that nurture is not important for basketball players just that it is less important than it is for baseball players.  47% is nearly three times the illegitimacy rate for MLB.

The evidence seems to support my hypothesis. But who needs evidence when we can just blame racism and poverty?

Source for All Star roosters:



MLB Black All-Stars

Prince Fielder – Legitimately born – Father is former All-Star Cecil Fielder
Derek Jeter –  Legitimately born – Father played college ball
Curtis Granderson – Legitimately born – Father was a dean
Matt Kemp – Legitimately born – Father was a manager for an electric company
Adam Jones – Illegitimately born – No father but a great support system. Mother married when he was six and step-father served as father figure.  http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-07-07/sports/bs-sp-orioles-adam-jones-profile-0708-20120702_1_second-highest-paid-center-fielder-adrian-limbrick-steve-ruiz

Ian Desmond – unknown probably illegitimate

Michael Bourn – Legitimately born – Father was a baseball coach

Andrew McCutchen – Legitimately born –Father was a minister

Mike Stanton- Legitimately born –Father threw him batting practice

David Price – Legitimately born

CC Sabathia – Legitimately born but father left when he was 12


NBA Black All-Stars

Chris Paul Legitimate
Kobe Bryant Legitimate
Kevin Durant Illegitimate
Blake Griffin Legitimate
Andrew Bynum Legitimate
LaMarcus Aldridge Functionally Illegitimate
Russell Westbrook Legitimate
Derrick Rose Illegitimate
Dwyane Wade Legitimate
LeBron James Illegitimate
Carmelo Anthony Functionally Illegitimate
Dwight Howard Legitimate
Chris Bosh Legitimate
Roy Hibbert Legitimate
Andre Iguodala Legitimate
Joe Johnson Illegitimate
Paul Pierce Functionally Illegitimate
Rajon Rondo Illegitimate
Deron Williams Illegitimate




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