Jackie Robinson broke Major League baseball's color barrier in 1947, but in the past few years, the percentage of African-American players on the field has dipped to Civil Rights-era numbers. One reason the number of black Major League players has steadily declined since the 1990s may be economic barriers to the sport, along with lack of college scholarships available in baseball, as college tuition costs rise and the racial wealth gap expands.
Major League player LaTroy Hawkins pointed out: “In baseball, you need all of the equipment -- glove, bat, spikes. [Basketball] all you need is a pair of tennis shoes. You don’t take that for granted, but a majority of kids have a pair of tennis shoes that they wear to school.” Elite youth baseball players also often join travel teams, supposedly upping their chances of making the big leagues, and adding to the cost.