Monday, March 25, 2019
It is almost time for the opening of the Major League Baseball season. As has been noted, the MLB has become increasingly Latinx, in no small part due to the pipeline of players from the Dominican Republic.
Rob Ruck on The Conversation looks at the pipeline of baseball players from the Dominican Republic. He notes that "Latinos will comprise about 30 percent of Major League Baseball rosters on Opening Day, in large part because MLB has systematized its recruiting and developmental programs in the Caribbean over the last 25 years." In his book Raceball, Ruck analyzed how this system operates:
"[P]rospectors scour the Dominican Republic for the next nuggets of talent, the way players are selected and groomed at a young age, and the way a signing bonus in the thousands of dollars can transform an impoverished family’s life. Few Dominican ballplayers, however, actually make it to the big leagues. Enmeshed in a system that encourages them to specialize in baseball at an early age, they’re left with little to fall back on when baseball doesn’t pan out."
The first generations of Dominican major league stars were players like Felipe Alou, Juan Marichal, and Manny Mota. And, as they say, the rest is history.