Major League Baseball (MLB) has honored a single player by retiring his number for every club. Absent special commemorations, no player will wear the number “42” in honor of the man who broke the color barrier to become the first African American to play major league baseball in the modern era: Jackie Robinson. MLB has also honored a single player—chosen from nominees from each individual club—by presenting an annual award for humanitarian service in his name; that honoree is Roberto Clemente. However, the sad reality is that if a fifteen-year-old Jackie Robinson were growing up today in South Pasadena, California, or if a fifteen-year-old Roberto Clemente were growing up today in Carolina, Puerto Rico, there is little chance that either would ever become a professional baseball player.
Stephen F. Ross and Michael James Jr., A Strategic Legal Challenge to the Unforeseen Anticompetitive and Racially Discriminatory Effects of Baseball’s North American Draft, 115 Colum. L. Rev. Sidebar 127 (2015).