Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton hits a walkoff home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 6-5. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has created a task force that will study how to increase diversity in the game, especially among black players. Commissioner Bud Selig announced the committee Wednesday. This week, baseball will celebrate the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. A new movie titled “42″ focuses on the Hall of Famer.
The 18-member committee includes representatives from club ownership, the players’ union, minor league and college baseball, the MLB scouting bureau and other areas. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and former major league manager Jerry Manuel are among the members. MLB says about 8.5 percent of players on this year’s opening day rosters identified themselves as African-American or black. That’s around half the number from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s.
“As a social institution, Major League Baseball has an enormous social responsibility to provide equal opportunities for all people, both on and off the field,” Selig said in a statement.