MLB Is More Latin American Than Ever, So Why Is There Only One Latino Manager?

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With the MLB playoffs nearing the climax of the World Series, here are some disheartening facts: these playoffs mark the 4th year since a Latino manager appeared in the postseason;that was in 2013 with Fredi González leading to Atlanta Braves. When the Braves fired González a month-and-a-half into the 2016 season, the league had no Latino managers for the first time since 1991. After the 2016 season, the Chicago White Sox hired Rick Renteria, a Mexican-American, who became–and remains–the only Latino manager in baseball.

Since 2010, Renteria and González are the only two Latino managers hired by MLB teams. This is even more jarring when considering that, since 2010, at no time did the percentage of Latino players fall below 27% of baseball rosters. Since then, that percentage has even increased, with Latinos currently making up nearly 32 percent of the league’s players—an all-time high. But while more Latinos are playing in MLB than ever before, managerial positions aren’t available to them at the same rate.

To further put the lack of Latino baseball managers in perspective, consider that the NBA and NFL—which along with MLB make up the 3 major United States sport leagues—each have the same number of Latino head coaches as baseball; Earl Watson and Ron Rivera, respectively. By comparison (based on the latest available statistics from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport who study and grade each league on racial and gender diversity), Latinos made up only 4.9 percent of players during the 2016-2017 NBA season and just 0.8 percent of players during the 2016 NFL season. Again, because it’s worth repeating, the MLB’s player workforce is over 30 percent Latino—over 6 times as many in the NBA and close to 40 times as many in the NFL. And yet, MLB only has one manager, like those two leagues.

Since the first professional baseball league game in 1871, there have only been 17 Latino managers in the United States. That’s 146 years of baseball and nearly 700 managers of which, only 17 have been Latino. It gets even worse when you dive in and consider that, of these 17, 6 of them–over a third–were only hired as interim managers—place-holders until they interviewed and hired someone else. For close to a century and a half, there’s only been 11 Latinos hired as full-time MLB managers.


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