Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West creating LLWS buzz
Win or lose, a collection of youngsters from Chicago figure to leave a lasting impression on the Little League World Series.
The Jackie Robinson West team is comprised of all African-American players. When tournament play begins Thursday their league will make its first appearance in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 31 years — the latest indicator that baseball is making strides in an effort to lure more young African-Americans back to the game.
The number of African-Americans in the major leagues has dwindled steadily since the mid-1980’s when they comprised about 19 percent of rosters; the number stood at 8.13 percent on opening day this year.
No one is ready to proclaim the sport is back in talent-rich inner city neighborhoods because of Jackie Robinson West’s success, however programs aimed at addressing the problem clearly are making a difference.