MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) on Monday announced a $10 million joint commitment to promote and enable increased Black participation in the sport of baseball at all levels. The commitment is being made through the Players Alliance, which comprises more than 100 current and former Black professional baseball players. The Players Alliance is supported by non-Black teammates via the newly formed Allies of the Alliance, which is a committee of professional baseball players of any race or origin who wish to support the Players Alliance mission.
According to an MLB-MLBPA press release, the Players Alliance through a series of grants will promote the following long-term goals and initiatives:
- Establish player-led mentorship
- Increase participation in baseball among Black youth and young adults via individual leagues, equipment donations, special tournaments, clinics, and playground activities
- Support Black cultural education, camps, and other programs designed to build pipelines and eliminate barriers to baseball participation
- Increase Black business partnerships as well as employment at all levels of professional baseball by funding education, training, counseling, and internship and recruitment programs
- Support baseball programs in public schools and community centers
- Provide grants, scholarships, and community services to various segments of the Black community
- Support related MLB and MLBPA programs
Declining participation of Black athletes in baseball at all levels, including the professional ranks, has been a source of concern for the sport in recent years. At various points in the 1970s, Black players made up almost 20 percent of MLB rosters. However, that figure is now below 8.0 percent. In large measure, that's because of increasing participation of international players in MLB, but the numbers in any context are concerning.
"Recent events and social unrest have profoundly crystallized the need for prescriptive programs and additional education designed to enhance Black participation at all levels of baseball for the betterment of our game as well as society," MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark said in the joint press release. "We look forward to working with The Players Alliance and MLB to make lasting changes and to have a substantive impact in this important area."