Diversity has changed over the years when it comes to sports. For Major League Baseball, expanding the game far beyond the US has been a huge focus that has garnered positive results. According to MLB.com, “of the 877 players on Opening Day rosters (including nonactives), 254 hailed from a total of 21 countries and territories outside the United States, which was the most in terms of total country count.” This marks an all time high for the sports organization and the first time that more than 20 foreign countries have been represented in the league.
Every continent was represented in the MLB as well (minus Antarctica) totally just under 30% of the player population being foreign born. For a closer look at diversity in the MLB, take a look at a few key points below:
- The Dominican Republic came in first, representing the most players born outside the US. Following the DR with 84 players were Venezuela at 74. Puerto Rico at 19
- Blue Jays shortstop Gift Ngoepe held the claim as the lone South African, and according to Baseball America, it’s believed he’s the first African-born player to make the Majors
- Pittsburgh’s Dovydas Neverauskas was the first player from Lithuania to make an Opening Day roster.
- The Texas Rangers had the most diverse Opening Day roster with 14, followed by the Chicago White Sox (13), Miami Marlins (12), and the Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Toronto Blue Jays all tied at 4th with 11.
- The Dodgers had players from eight countries and territories outside the U.S., marking the most, followed by the Braves, Marlins and Mariners, who each had seven.