PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 24: Closer David Robertson #30 and catcher J.T. Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies shake hands after defeating Cincinnati Reds 7-5 in a game at Citizens Bank Park on August 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
By Mike Walsh
I noticed on Sunday night that the Phillies used an all-white starting lineup versus the Mets. I don’t know if anyone tracks this, but I assume that all-white starting lineups in major league baseball are fairly rare.
Also, after the trade deadline in early August, I had noticed that the Phillies were very white (i.e., Caucasian). They had traded for three white players (Marsh, Syndergaard, and Robertson) and one minority player (Sosa) and followed that up by releasing numerous minority players (Herrera, Gregorius, Familia, and Carmago).
As a result, the Phillies currently have six minority players on their active roster. That’s 23 percent. According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, 38 percent of all MLB players as of opening day were players of color. The Phillies also have just two minority coaches.
I conducted an informal poll on mlb.com of players and coaches on the other teams in the National League East and found the following:
- New York Mets: 10 minority players, 3 minority coaches
- Atlanta Braves: 10 minority players, 6 minority coaches
- Miami Marlins: 11 minority players, 6 minority coaches
- Washington Nationals: 17 minority players and 5 minority coaches
So the Phillies have fewer minority players and fewer minority coaches than any team in their division.
I looked at the team’s 2022 Media Guide and noticed that only seven of the 38 people at the top of the Phillies front office (including the owner but not Special Advisors) are minorities. That’s 18.4%, about the same percentage. Is it a surprise that the roster reflects the racial makeup of the front office?
Also, over the past few years, the Phillies have signed mostly white free agents, and their average salary for white players is much higher than salaries for minority players.
And the team heritage regarding minority representation is not great. The Phillies were the last team in the National League to include an African American player on their roster. That was in 1957. And for the first year since 1959, the Phillies had no African American player on their opening day roster.
I’m not accusing the Phillies of being racist, and I’m not proposing that the Phillies make decisions based solely on skin color, but they also shouldn’t have one of the whitest rosters, coaching staff, and front offices in baseball.
And in a city with a majority minority population, shouldn’t they make an effort for more minority representation than approximately half the league average?
Mike Walsh lives in Gulph Mills, Pa., and works with Draw the Lines PA to promote fair redistricting in Pennsylvania. His views are his own.
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