By Brittany Chiu


Jackie Robinson became the first black player to be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame while Roberto Clemento the first Hispanic player in 1973. But what about Asian players? Baseball has been a hot sport in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines ever since the United States has made its way to Asia, although the local people perceive the sport differently in meaning. Despite this sport being a strong tradition in Asia for decades, just how many of them do you know who are currently playing in the United States?



The combination of systemic racism, contractual constraints, language barrier, and lack of social inclusion have contributed to the disparity of greater Asian representation in baseball. With increased media presence on successes such as Kim Ng, the first female and first Asian American general manager in MLB, and the anticipated induction of Ichiro Suzuki into the Hall of Fame, there is hope and optimism that the AAPI communities will be more accepted and integrated into the American landscape. It may be difficult to see an Asian face representing the MLB but with the right change in the pervasive attitudes of the league and the proper investment in the diversity of its players, it can happen. It is only then can MLB truly be called a global brand.


Asian Americans have even become a legacy to MLB. Take Balcena of the Cincinnati Redlegs for instance. He was the first Asian descent of Filipino heritage to play as a center fielder for the team. Despite his breakthrough appearance in the MLB, nowhere is he to be seen in history textbooks on the level that Jackie Robinson had been. There are many more who have been underappreciated by the greater population such as Tim Lincecum, Travis Ishikawa, Shohei Otani, and Yu Darvish.



In addition to under-representation, racist taunts are not uncommon. After a throwing error from the Cleveland Indians’ first-baseman that resulted in the loss of game to the Chicago White Sox in April of 2021, Yu Chang, a Taiwanese, was berated with racist, Anti-Asian comments on social media. This is 2021, yet ignorance and xenophobia lives on so outright and rampantly in U.S. society.


The impact and influence of Asians have had on baseball and the United States as a whole need to be recognized and appreciated. The United States is a nation of shared history, pride, mutual respect, and efforts. With that said, it makes no sense for America’s pastime to be still marketed the way it had been in the past. Baseball deserves to be enjoyed by all.


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