Major League Baseball had 44 and 72 players from overseas in 1990 and 2000, respectively. As at the turn of the century, these players constituted about 25.3%, over one-quarter of the total number of players at MLB. There was a slow growth rate for about a decade from 2000 to 2010. However, the figures have begun rising again in the past ten years. In this season, the number of players born outside of the United States hit the 108 player-mark. From 1960 to 2000, the number of players grew by 28% and showed increased growth even in the coming baseball seasons. The boom in Latin American talent, particularly in Major League Baseball, has been due to various factors. The Major League Baseball allowed players of Latin American origin with light skin to take part in the event.
The people are the most convincing aspect of the story of how this exponential growth happened. If you carefully look at the sport, you will find that there are influential players who forever changed some aspects of the game. For instance, Jackie Robinson was known to defy all odds placed against people of color. In 1947, the African American player became the first person of color to be a part of the playing team in the major baseball leagues.
His efforts focused on more than the inclusion of African Americans but of all people of color interested in the sport. The number of these players of Latin American were significantly low due to the segregation laws. Those who failed to meet the cut only enjoyed a short time playing the sport. Jackie Robinson made way for Latin American and African American players to join in the major leagues. The initial upward trend was slightly slow, but things began taking a faster route in the mid-1950s.
The first Latin American baseball player to commence at an All-Star Game was Chico Carrasquel back in 1951. In 1956, Luis Aparicio then became the first Latino player to earn the title Rookie of the Year. Even in the 1960s, the baseball players with Latin American origin continued finding success in the game. Players like Zoilo Versalles got to become the AL MVP. Others, such as Mike Cuellar, took home the coveted Cy Young Award. 1973 was also a monumental year for players of Latin American when Roberto Clemente was formally admitted into the Hall of Fame.
The boom in foreign-born players owes their existence to the success set by the Latin American trailblazers. Their efforts brought together the American public and compelled them to accept international stars. The American baseball fanbase compelled executives to expand their search for upcoming talent even in other nations. MLB academies slowly started developing its existence in Latin America. The whole of Latino has now formed talent farms in Latin America.
In the coming years, those competing in MLB will be players from nations beyond America, including Latin America. The international stars are gradually taking over the larger share of players at the major leagues in baseball. MLB academies, in part, owe their existence and survival to the continuous flow of Latino talent. Thousands of Latin American candidates in their youthful years are joining the minor leagues annually. With each passing day, they hope to succeed in the competition.
Case in point, every MLB academy now has nearly 60 players attributed to the Dominican Republic. Some of these young prospects fail to make the cut and end up missing out on being a part of the top leagues. However, some such as Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr., and Marcell Ozuna has earned a stellar reputation in the game. Their achievements have drawn the interest of the Latino population in MLB with well-paid television deals.
These TV contracts are in effect in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Venezuela, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic have rated baseball as their preferred game. Now, only 9% of the total population in America consider the sport as their number one game. Players of Latin American can easily leverage such situations even as they proceed to battle it out in Major League Baseball. The World Series continues to deliver on its promises in the current and future seasons.