National pastime takes on international flavor

Updated: April 3, 2007, 3:53 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The percentage of Major League Baseball players born outside the 50 states increased slightly to a near record level.

Of the 849 players on rosters at the start of the season, 246 were born outside the 50 states, the commissioner's office said Tuesday. That comes to 29 percent, up from 27.4 percent last year and near the record 29.2 percent set in 2005.

The Dominican Republic had the most non-U.S. players with 98, followed by Venezuela (51), Puerto Rico (28), Canada (19), Japan and Mexico (13 each), Panama (seven), Cuba (six), South Korea (three), Colombia and Taiwan (two apiece), and Aruba, Australia, Curacao and Nicaragua (one apiece).

The New York Mets (15) had the most foreign-born players for the second straight year and were followed by the New York Yankees (13) and Boston, Minnesota and Seattle (12).

There were 3,098 of 6,701 minor leaguers born outside the 50 states, with the percentage rising to 46.2 percent from 45.1 last year.

The pool included players on Opening Day rosters and disabled lists, suspended New York Mets reliever Guillermo Mota and two players called up before Monday's openers, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Victor Santos and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Joe Bisenius.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press