A Striking Drop, as Blacks Turn from Baseball

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In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball becoming not only a sports hero, but a figure from history. Guests discuss why, 60 years later, the percentage of African-Americans who follow and play the game is dwindling.

Guests:

Dave Winfield, retired baseball player; author of Dropping the Ball: Baseball's Troubles and How We Can and Must Solve Them

Darrell Miller, director, Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif.

Baseball Works to Bring Blacks Back to the Game

Sixty years ago this month, the mental landscape of America changed when Jackie Robinson took the field as the first African-American player in Major League Baseball in the 20th Century. By the time he retired, after 10 years with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson had endured threats and taunts to become a genuine hero. He was not only a Hall of Fame baseball player, but a name in history. His number 42, is now retired on every club in the major leagues, a tribute to a man who had to hang his first uniform on a hook.

Now, at the start of the 2007 baseball season, African Americans make up only 8.4 percent of Major League ballplayers. In 1975, they accounted for 27 percent.

Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson's only daughter, speaks with Scott Simon about the decline. She is working for Major League Baseball in an effort to bring black players and fans back to the game.

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