ST. LOUIS — — In the year that the movie "42" dramatized the story of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier, the number of African Americans playing in the World Series is the same as the number playing in the major leagues when Robinson made his debut in 1947: one.
"It's sad to see," said Boston Red Sox outfielder Quintin Berry, the only African American on the roster of either team.
The percentage of African Americans in the major leagues has declined from about 19% in 1984 to about 8% today.
When the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies met in the World Series five years ago, baseball officials were optimistic about turning the tide. The Rays had five African Americans on their roster, and the series featured such engaging stars as Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, David Price and B.J. Upton.
At the time, Commissioner Bud Selig said he hoped the showcase would help attract African American athletes to the inner-city academies and recreational leagues established by Major League Baseball. On Saturday, Selig said those efforts take time to bear fruit and, as a result, he was not disappointed that this World Series features a single African American player.