Earlier work (Phillips, 1983) showed limited or no progress in the accessibility of central positions (catcher, shortstop, second base) to black professional baseball aspirants. A closer examination of the data reveals an interesting change during the past two decades. Blacks came to appear in numbers at second base in the mid-1970s and at shortstop during the 1976-1986 decade, but this progress was obscured when the three central positions were combined. Separation of the three positions reveals a clear pattern of progress in accessibility, first at second base, the least central of the central positions, then at shortstop, but not yet at catcher, the most central position. Another pattern of discrimination, exclusion of weak-hitting black players in favor of weak-hitting white players, seems to have disappeared. Some theoretical and practical implications of this apparent decline in discrimination are discussed.
This is a revised version of a paper presented at the meetings of the Pacific Sociological Association, Reno, NV, April 1989.
John C. Phillips is with the Department of Sociology, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA 95211.