Selig pushes minority hiring

Letter to owners latest step to broaden diversity at top


In his clearest and strongest effort to induce clubs to hire members of minorities in key positions, commissioner Bud Selig has ordered owners to consider minority candidates for openings in five positions, including general manager and manager, and to give him their list of all candidates for the jobs.

"If a club has an opening in any of these positions, the club owner must notify me personally," Selig said in a letter to owners. "In addition, your list of candidates must be provided to me. I expect the list to include minority candidates whom you and your staff have identified. I will provide assistance to you if you cannot identify candidates on your own."

Adding weight to his words, Selig told the owners he would discipline clubs that did not "aggressively pursue equal opportunities and initiatives."

The commissioner acted after an April 13 meeting at which Leonard Coleman, the National League president, and Frank Robinson, the Hall of Famer who works out of the commissioner's office, led a group that urged Selig to take steps to increase the number of blacks and Hispanics hired for major jobs.

Selig acknowledged writing the letter to owners but declined to comment further.

The positions he listed in his letter were manager, general manager, assistant general manager and directors of player development and scouting. No major-league team has a general manager who is a member of a minority group. Since Don Baylor, Tony Perez and Dusty Baker were hired in a two-month period at the end of 1992, teams have named 36 managers, not counting interims, and Jerry Manuel of the Chicago White Sox has been the only black or Hispanic hired.

Selig also advised the owners that he and his aides will "aggressively recruit and hire diverse candidates for all open central office positions."

The commissioner's office itself has been criticized for failing to consider members of minorities for high-ranking positions.

In the last two years, four new positions have been created, and members of minorities were not interviewed for any of them. In the midst of the season-long celebration in 1997 of the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's historic entry into the major leagues, Paul Beeston was named president and chief operating officer.

Last year, Sandy Alderson was named executive vice president of baseball operations, Robert DuPuy executive vice president for administration and Rob Manfred executive vice president for labor relations and human resources.

Last winter, three members of minorities were named assistant general managers. Dave Stewart of Toronto, David Wilder of the Chicago Cubs and Ruben Amaro Jr. of Philadelphia joined Omar Minaya of the Mets and Darrell "Doc" Rodgers of Cincinnati in that role as well as two women, Elaine Steward of Boston and Kim Ng of the New York Yankees. Al Avila was named the Florida Marlins' scouting director and Don Reynolds the Montreal Expos' farm director.

Selig focused on the four front office positions because the people who hold them have decision-making authority and control budgets.

Coleman, who in his sixth year as National League president is baseball's highest-ranking black or Hispanic, led a five-man group at the April 13 meeting in Milwaukee. He and Robinson, who has been a manager and assistant general manager, were joined by Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan and Roberto Clemente Jr., a sportscaster and son of the late Hall of Famer. Selig was joined by William Bartholomay, co-chairman of the owners' equal opportunity committee, and Wendy Selig-Prieb, his daughter and president of the Brewers.

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