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America’s ‘National Pastime’ Rosters are Full of Foreign-Born Players

MLB International Diversity Continues to Thrive
The Texas Rangers at Seattle’s Safeco Field on September 28, 2018. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images.)

Diversity

Major League Baseball, America’s ‘National Pastime,’ has always held the most diverse rosters of any American sport. According to an article posted on Routine, MLB rosters in 2020 consisted of 57.5% white, 31.9% Hispanic, 7.7% Black, and 2.9% Asian/Other players.

According to Forbes magazine, approximately 30% of MLB players are from countries outside of the United States.

In 2021, 256 players, representing 20 different countries and territories outside of the U.S. were listed on Opening Day Rosters, according to MLB.com. This list marks the third-highest percentages of diversity in the game, just behind 2020 with 291 foreign-born players, and 2017 with 259 foreign-born players.

While Basketball has always had high percentages of players of diverse races, no sport can compare with the cultural diversity that Major League Baseball presents.

Teams

MLB.com reports that the team with the highest number of internationally-born players, with 15 on their roster, is the Houston Astros. Followed closely by the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres, both with 14 internationally-born players, and the Miami Marlins with 13.

Houston Astros, Most Diverse Team in the MLB
Houston Astros players Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.)

Players

Some of the best players in 2021, according to ESPN, are foreign-born. Juan Soto, from the Dominican Republic, plays for the Washington Nationals and was ranked #3 in the league on opening day. Ronald Acuña, from Venezuela, plays for the Atlanta Braves and was ranked #4. Fernando Tatis Jr., also from the Dominican Republic, plays for the San Diego Padres and was ranked #8.

So why is the diversity in Major League Baseball important? Baseball has long been considered American’s ‘National Pastime.’ As America’s diversity continues to change and grow, that diversity should be represented in the media, sports and television. Having famous, professional athletes from diverse cultural backgrounds is a step towards accurately representing the U.S. population.

The U.S. has a higher immigrant population than any other country, reported at 44.8 million, or 13.7% of the population in 2018 according to pewresearch.com. Young sports fans should be able to turn on the T.V. and see people who look like them following their dreams and finding success in America. Major League Baseball allows that to be a reality.

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1 comment

  1. Baseball is one of the few sports that I do like to watch, and it is amazing to see how diverse baseball is. I had no idea some teams were made mostly of foreign-born players. Like you mentioned, having younger kids born outside of the U.S tune into baseball and see someone from their country hitting home-runs must be an inspiration to them. Seeing the players succeed allows younger kids to follow in the footsteps and eventually become professional baseball players themselves.

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