Dodgers Team News

Dodgers Lack of African-American Players Examined by LA Times

It was a topic of discussion in some corners of the Twitterverse for Dodger fans, but the Dodgers did not employ any African-American players during the 2019 season. This marks the first time that the Dodgers franchise did not employ a black player since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier — a truly interesting observational statistic.

In a recent column by Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers’ history with diversification and their current state is examined:

According to the column, of 882 players on Opening Day rosters in 2019, only 68, or 7.7 percent, were of African-American descent. Eleven teams across Major League Baseball did not employ multiple African-American players — demonstrating that this is not a Dodgers issue. Simply put, African-American athletes are turning to basketball and football instead of baseball in today’s era of sports.

In a widespread story, current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray chose to play NFL football than to play for the Oakland Athletics with a huge signing bonus. Murray is just one case.

The Dodgers are not systematically avoiding signing African-American athletes and Castillo confirms that within his piece. It just demonstrates something bigger.

More at Dodgers Nation

Former Dodger Ken Landreaux weighed in on the lack of black players for the Dodgers:

“I noticed it even before. Even though they went down to zero blacks on the team, I remember when it was cut down to six, then five, then four, then three, then two. I just saw it keep going down, down, and down.”

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman also discussed it:

“I think this has been a longstanding challenge in baseball for as long as I’ve been a part of it. I know that there are a lot of people thinking about it and initiatives such as the RBI program are put in place to try to change it. Hopefully, we are making inroads, but, like most things, there’s probably more that we all can and should do.”

For a franchise with such rich history — breaking the color barrier with Jackie Robinson and sprouting the careers of Roy Campanella, Maury Wills, and Don Newcomb — it is something interesting to notice.

NEXT: Dodgers Stories: 6 Decades in LA

Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.


  1. even Hernandez and Verdugo are white lol that’s how white this team is. But joking aside it’s true that African Americans are mostly playing football and basketball. If you want to mix in some more blacks then just get more black Dominicans, and Cubans.

  2. @Mia Culpa, KiKi isn’t white. He is Puerto Rican.

    As for African Americans, pretty sure Andrew Toles had a legitimate shot at making the team had he showed up, he at least would have stayed on the 40 man.

  3. It seems that MLB has an image problem among the black community so they need to try and change that image. Basketball and football fans always say it is a slow, boring game. Speed the game up, make it more entertaining. “Let the kids play” is a good direction. When an ethnic group isnt a huge percentage of the free agent pool it will naturally reflect on rosters. To aim controversy at the Dodgers with their celebrated history of being pioneers in diversity, its just nonsense. The LA Times is just pushing politics to sell papers.

  4. Mia Culpa – Dominicans and Cubans are not African Americans DUMBASS! And quit treating this like a bag of M&Ms.

  5. Sweet …Another thread for everyone to argue over..Thanks for making racism #1 in ur life

  6. Why not run a story on the lack of non African Americans in the NBA? I think any team in any sport first and foremost employ the best player they can for the position they need regardless of their skin color. I wish the media would just stop this race baiting crap.

  7. Kenley Jensen is black! Also, who cares? The goal is to build a team that can win not to engage in an affirmative action experiment! If there are African American players that we’ll make them a better team than I’m sure they’ll explore those options. I think people are just being ridiculous and trying to look for something nefarious where there’s nothing to see.

  8. So why is it that if black people aren’t on the team it’s always a big discussion but if white Mexican or latino aren’t on at team it’s no big deal. Let’s bring up the la Lakers how many white guys are on that team. It’s old stop

  9. Leave up the the LA Slimes to make a racial story out about nothing. There also wasn’t a Russian-American, a Chinese-American or an Armenian-American either so it really is a story about nothing. To prove how silly this is, black players from the Caribbean don’t count because they are African enough. There was a number of stories about this a few years ago but gladly it died. Put the best 25 players on the roster and win.

  10. I am always amazed that discussions and articles are written on these types of observations. I am the furthest thing from a raciest. But have you ever heard of ‘concerns’ of the lack of white dudes in the NBA? No.

  11. “Put the best 25 players on the roster and win.” – Correct, if you add the words “and the best persons,” meaning persons of character.

  12. Yes Kenley Jansen isn’t white either ,nor Dave Robert’s stop this white versus black crap and play baseball .This world is getting so crazy with nonsense, look at the politicians in Los Angeles, start something over nothing ,what I wish they would do is work for the people and not themselves, just pot stirrers, and maybe they could work on a TV contract ,for the non entitled.

  13. Tough if the blacks want to play football or basketball play that sport how many white players are there in the NBA it’s just the way the chips fall this sports writer is probably left wing because there’s nothing they don’t cry about.

  14. the distinction of black “Americans” makes this a dull argument. all of baseball, including the Dodgers, employ many blacks from Latin America — see Kenley Jansen (Negron?). Dodgers have long used Asian pitchers too (Ryu, Nomo, Park, et al.). but, as a baseball coach myself, I see a decline in black kids playing baseball. I don’t have a reason. my school, UCLA, a top NCAA team, has had negligible black players — for the same reason: not many available. also, UCLA uses some feeder high schools like Hart and Harvard-Westlake, where there is a relationship. by the way, UCLA just played BYU in basketball: BYU has an all-white team, while UCLA is mostly blacks (it was a stark contrast). baseball is an odd sport in that it attracts way more whites, especially Latinos, than blacks. you can add golf and men’s tennis to that list.

  15. This is a bunch of bull, why even go there. Who cares if we don’t have African-Americans playing for us. Would this subject be brought up if there weren’t any Mexican-Americans playing for a major league baseball team. Of course they’re wouldn’t, so stop bringing this type of racial topic amongst the baseball world. Don’t we have enough racial hatred in this damn world….. Ashame of you …..whoever wrote this piece

  16. Why don’t the Times or Chronicle look into why there’s no Samoans in the NHL or NBA. It’s the exact same thing. The media will say what ever they can to create controversy. There all a bunch of POS who do nothing but create fake news

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