Free Copy of Rob Ruck’s Raceball with Donation

Our staff is reading Rob Ruck’s Raceball as part of their Professional Development. Raceball is Pitt Professor Ruck’s critical study of the history and development of BASEBALL in relation to its African American and Latino players, coaches, and managers.

The book is important for many reasons, among them for the way it portrays the business side of BASEBALL. As BASEBALL forms a committee to investigate concern over the decreasing numbers of African American ballplayers, Ruck’s Raceball sets this problem up and suggests a compelling answer: Latin ballplayers are cheaper labor.

raceball baseballWith BASEBALL’s expansion into the Caribbean came the development of recruitment and training facilities for very young, hopeful baseball players often from very impoverished Latin American neighborhoods. That BASEBALL as a business is able to exploit the purpose of these facilities and the labor of these young Latin ballplayers is Ruck’s reasoning for why Latin American ballplayers have increased while African American ballplayers have decreased in the last 20-30 years.

For instance, in the 1950s and 1960s BASEBALL looked to US inner cities for new and inexpensive (and often African American) talent—at the demise of the African American owned-and-operated Negro Leagues. For a number of reasons, in the past 20-30 years, BASEBALL has found the Caribbean to offer greater talent returns for lesser financial investment than in US cities. For one thing, in the Caribbean, BASEBALL does not have to compete with football and basketball for the most talented young athletes. This competition in the US goes as far as how much salary to offer. A talented African American youth can make more money and faster as a point guard than he can as an outfielder spending as many as 3-4 years developing in the minor leagues. The Caribbean offers a greater return on investment in impoverished communities—and as a result, we see a disinvestment from BASEBALL in terms of time and dollars in US urban communities in comparison with Caribbean communities today.

Ruck’s really is a remarkable baseball-history lesson and informs so much of the research and mission of Experience Baseball. We have a number of new copies of the book at our disposal in the office. As our supplies go, for donations of $50 or more to Experience Baseball (Baseball for Development), we’ll send you a free hardcover copy of Ruck’s Raceball to add to your baseball book collection.


And for those of you who already have read it, we’d love to know what you think.

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