It was eight years ago that veteran baseball coach Charles Mayden envisioned baseball teams that would compete at a level that would almost mirror the Negro League baseball. As the numbers of black players in Major League Baseball dwindled, his vision developed. Now he is in the final planning stages of launching the National Urban Professional Baseball League (NUPBL) that will begin its inaugural season in 2018.
According to its press release, the organization is seeking “the best baseball players from across the United States and the world.”
“We’ve been working behind the scenes to put the pieces in place and making sure that the timing was right to unveil it and we feel this is time until it’s needed,” Mayden said a week after the announcement of the league was made public. “We’ve been getting calls from across the country, more importantly from African-Americans excited about the idea and opportunity that they feel this league will present for African-American baseball players.”
A 2015 Wall Street Journal story revealed data from the National Sporting Goods Association showing that the number of youth baseball players ages 7 to 17 has declined from 8.8 million in 2000 to 5.3 million in 2013, and the number of softball players has declined from 5.4 million to 3.2 million.
Mayden believes that for youths in low-income areas that number is increasingly larger. On the major league level, In 1981 African-Americans represented 18.7 percent of Major League Baseball players and in 2015 that number dropped to 7.8 percent – a 70 percent drop in 34 years, according to Sports Grid.