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Chicago's Jackie Robinson West creating LLWS buzz

Little League 75th Anniversary
Posted at 1:17 PM, Aug 15, 2014
and last updated 2016-05-06 10:35:41-04

FRED GOODALL

AP Sports Writer

Win or lose, a collection of youngsters from Chicago figure to leave a lasting impression on the Little League World Series.

The Jackie Robinson West team is comprised of all African-American players. When tournament play begins Thursday their league will make its first appearance in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 31 years — the latest indicator that baseball is making strides in an effort to lure more young African-Americans back to the game.

The number of African-Americans in the major leagues has dwindled steadily since the mid-1980's when they comprised about 19 percent of rosters; the number stood at 8.13 percent on opening day this year.

No one is ready to proclaim the sport is back in talent-rich inner city neighborhoods because of Jackie Robinson West's success, however programs aimed at addressing the problem clearly are making a difference.