Baseball was first dubbed as America’s pastime in the 1850s, and at its highest level (MLB) stayed exclusively a sport for White-Americans for the following century. It wasn’t until April 15th, 1947 that the color barrier was broken by Jackie Robinson. Since that date the demographics have changed fairly remarkably. During the 2012 season, 1/4 of all MLB players came from countries outside of the US and Canada. 155 of the roughly 1,300 MLB professional baseball players came from the Dominican Republic. Many of the current stars in the MLB come from foreign countries: Robinson Cano, David Ortiz, Ichiro Suzuki, and Albert Pujols just to name a few.
Professional Baseball is now played in 18 different countries, and its popularity is continuing to rise in Asian and Latin American countries. In March 2006, the first World Baseball Classic was played in response to baseball being dropped from the Olympics, and while it hasn’t been incredibly popular (compared to the World Series or the World Cup for soccer). The results show that from a talent perspective it is becoming a more global sport; Japan has won both editions of the classic and the United States’ best finish has been 4th place. While baseball still has a long way to go to catch up to soccer in terms of global popularity, the shift in the talent pool and the global popularity of the sport highlight its recent success.