On his radio show, Jesse interviewed Kevin Stuart, Ph.D., executive director of the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. Kevin coauthored a study titled “Called Out at Home,” linking the decrease of black men in baseball to the decline of married black fathers in the home. Maggie Gallagher of the National Review wrote about the study: “Why Are There So Few Black Players in Major League Baseball?”
In 1981, blacks represented over 18% of players in Major League Baseball. Today, they represent 7.2% — a 60% decline. This occurred 20 years after the sharp rise in out-of-wedlock births. The average player is twice as likely to come from a home with a father than the general population.
Whites also saw a 10% decline in player representation, as Latino and Hispanic participation increased. Jesse asked if it might be due to the increase of white fatherless homes.
Jesse also asked if black dissociation from the sport, and from fathers, is linked to black Americans feeling alienated from their country. One black player said that baseball is a “white man’s sport,” even though baseball is more diverse today than ever.
Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest baseball players and one of the exceptions — he grew up without his father. He said, “Dad left us when I was 9. What did I know back then? I thought he was coming back. I thought he had gone to the store or something. But he never came back. It still hurts. After a while, I lied to myself. I tried to tell myself that it didn’t matter, that I didn’t care. But times I was alone, I often cried. Where was my father? To this day, I still can’t get close to people.”
Jesse dedicated his life’s work to rebuilding men, turning fathers back to their children and children back to fathers.