Frank Robinson, Major League’s vice president of baseball development and the league’s first African American team manager, made the announcement at Minute Maid Park.
“We’re very proud to be able to bring the 2014 Civil Rights Game to Houston. Thank you.”
The Civil Rights Game is a regular season contest and was first played in 2007. It’s one of the MLB’s initiatives to highlight diversity throughout baseball.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker says it’s fitting that Houston will host the game next year.
“First of all, Houston hosts large and small sporting events on a regular basis and we do it very, very well, but because Houston is officially the most diverse city in the United States after the last census and we are so internationally diverse as well, it makes sense to showcase what we have here in Houston.”
In 2010, the Astros became the first major league club to have its own MLB Urban Youth Academy, a network of facilities around the country that provide free baseball and softball instruction to young people from urban areas.
Houston state Rep. Sylvester Turner says baseball was an essential tool in the history of the civil rights struggle in America.
“When you think about what took place in 1954 — Brown v. Board of Education, Birmingham — all of those things certainly, probably would have happened, but the fact that baseball was integrated and was integrated in a peaceful, somewhat non-violent way, made it much easier for people to see that it could work, it can work and it has worked.”
He says the Civil Rights Game represents the evolution of baseball as well as America in terms of diversity.
According to a study by the University of Central Florida, Major League Baseball is a very diverse league when it comes to its players. But while the number of Hispanic and Asian players is rising, only slightly more than 8 percent of MLB players are black — substantially fewer than there used to be.
The Civil Rights Game is one of several MLB initiatives that address that fact.
The 2014 Civil Rights Game will take place on May 30 at Minute Maid Park and feature the Astros and the Baltimore Orioles. There will be several activities surrounding the game throughout the week of May 25.