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McClendon: MLB not reaching blacks

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said Sunday he's concerned about the lack of African-American players and managers in baseball.

In the last few weeks, two African-American managers left the game in Houston's Bo Porter, who was fired, and on Friday, Texas' Ron Washington resigned, leaving McClendon as the only black man as a manager.

"It's concerning," McClendon said. "Not just from a managerial standpoint but from a player standpoint, in what's happening with baseball in the inner cities. I think from all the conversations I've had, I know Major League Baseball is committed to bringing [it] back to the inner cities. I think from a philosophical standpoint we're missing some ideas that need to be in there."

The number of African-American players in the game is down to 7.8 percent. In 1995, African-Americans comprised of 19 percent of the big league rosters and in 1975 it was its highest at 27 percent.

"We've had several conversations with a committee in Detroit on that," McClendon said. "I'm sure it's still moving forward. Is it concerning? Yeah, when [I] used to watch my son play in college and he would be the only African American on both sides of the ball."

In 1989, MLB launched its RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program to draw more African-Americans to the game. It has built four academies through the RBI program and there have been more than 200 RBI participants drafted.

The RBI baseball championships were held at Globe Life Park this summer.

"This conversation, we could have this for two hours and probably talk about all the problems and why it is," McClendon said. "But we have problems and I'm not sure how we fix it."


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