Dr. Richard Lapchick, the Director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport conducts an annual research project on the diversity of Major League Baseball. The study showed, "At the start of the 2011 season, the total players of color were 38.3 percent. The opening day rosters were 61.5 percent white, 27 percent Latino, 2.1 percent Asian, 0.4 percent Native American or Native Alaskan and 0.3 percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. The percentage of international players in MLB on 2011 Opening Day rosters was 27.7 percent, spanning 14 countries and territories. The percentage of international players in MLB in 2010 was 30.1 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from 2009. In addition, of Minor League players under contract as of 2011 Opening Day, 47.4 percent were born outside of the United States. Minor League players span 41 countries and territories. "
On the 2011 All-Star roster, 22 out of 85 total players (26%) (including reserves) were born out side of the United States. Just to name a few, Mariano Rivera (Panama), Russell Martin (Canada), Jair Jurrjens (Curacao) and Felix Hernandez (Venezuela) highlighted some of baseball's best.
In 2011, a record 9 Aussies played at the Major League level for their respective clubs. Josh Spence (Padres), Peter Moylan (Braves), Shane Lindsay (White Sox) Grant Balfour (Athletics), Luke Hughes (Twins) Rich Thompson (Angles) Liam Hendriks (Twins) Trent Oeltjen (Dodgers) and Brad Thomas (Tigers) all beat the odds, earning the name "Major Leaguer." Two-time World Series Champion, Graeme Llyod stated, "The Australian attitude towards baseball is that we take nothing for granted. We are working hard everyday to show that we can compete against the best and I think we have done this."
Australian Baseball League is a perfect example of the diversity within baseball. The 2011/12 season saw 12 countries represented. Australia hosted players from New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, France, Germany, India, Taiwan, Japan, United States, Korea and England. International fans followed, flocking to see the best on Australian soil, highlighted by the Conoco Phillips ABL All-Star Game where Team Australia took on the World All-Stars in Perth.
As the game continues to spread around the world, even more countries and territories will join the baseball fraternity, and we hope that that you'll be right along with us, cheering them on.