NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Baseball Bids Good-bye To Bias

July 1, 1999

One of the most racially-inclusive societies in American may be found at the ballpark. In a study in the current issue of Economic Inquiry it is reported that evidence of bias against black players from fans has disappeared entirely. What is especially striking, the researchers report, is that these results come even though black attendance at baseball games declined over the period studied.

The evidence is based on annual voting by fans for baseball's All-Star Game. Controls were utilized to weed out certain extraneous factors.

  • Analyzing data from 1970 to 1996, the researchers found no systematic bias affecting votes for Hispanic players.
  • In 1970, however, black candidates for the starting line- ups for each major league received 40 percent fewer votes than white players with similar records.
  • By 1975, the difference was only 17 percent -- and by the early 1980s, evidence of bias had disappeared entirely.
  • Indeed, by 1996, black ballplayers even appeared to have an edge over their white peers.

Source: Gene Koretz, "Color-Blind at the Ballpark," Business Week, July 1, 1999.


Browse more articles on Government Issues