Baseball Is Hitting Way Under .200 When It Comes To Hiring Managers
Hiring Joe Espada Could Have Improved Baseball's Disturbing Image
Going four for thirty, even in a sport when thirty percent success is considered excellent, is downright shameful. Yet Major League Baseball is hitting well below the Mendoza Line when it comes to hiring minority managers, in spite of the fact that they have enjoyed more success in the field than their Caucasian colleagues.
Three of the last four pennants have been captured under the leadership of minority skippers, comprising Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox and most recently Dave Martinez of the Washington Nationals. In fact, the only non-minority manager to capture one of the last four league championships is A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros and, because of all the controversy of that club's allegations of cheating, his title may forever be stigmatized with an asterisk.
Given the overwhelming success of three of the four, it would be assumed that MLB teams looking for managers might seek a minority to oversee the dugout. After all, no fewer than six clubs had openings at the end of last season, so surely the total of minority skippers would rise to at least the Mendoza Line (.200 or twenty percent).
Not so. The sport that celebrates Jackie Robinson Day in the Spring by having every player wear his retired number 42 in all fifteen games, filled all but one of the managerial openings with white men. What is even sadder is that by hiring the one minority, the overall percentage actually went up.
The lone non-Caucasion hiree is former All-Star Carlos Beltran, who will manage the New York Mets beginning in 2020. The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago Cubs all selected white managers, including one hired by the Wrigley Field club who has had not even a single day of coaching at any level of professional baseball.
Among the most qualified candidates rejected by Chicago was veteran bench coach Joe Espada, who was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He had also interviewed several times for the San Francisco opening, only to lose out to a white candidate.
Exactly one month after the ominous Ides of March, the officials at MLB will boast about its tribute to its first black player. A much more meaningful honor would be to actually start hiring a few more minorities to manage teams, instead of just printing up hundreds of number 42 jerseys every April 15.