For example. the National League was better than the American League throughout the 1960s and 1970s. From 1960 to 1982, the National League won 23 All-Star Games. The American League only won 2.
I would surmise that the National League dominated because they integrated more quickly, adding the best black players to their teams while a number of American League teams (most notably, the Red Sox) continued to stay all-white.
But I haven't seen data supporting that theory. That's because we have stats going back to the 1870s, but we don't have a database of racial/ethnic categorization. One reason is that every time it comes up, it becomes clear that "race" is a cultural phenomenon, not a scientific one. For example, President Obama is (at least) half-white and yet we call him the first "black" president.
So, forget "race". I'm working on a skin color database, ranking everyone from 1-9 like so:
It's hard to tell from some pictures exactly where someone's skin color falls. But that's okay. Even if we can't agree whether Ken Griffey Jr. is a "7" or an "8", we still have enough data to ask some interesting questions, like whether skin color affects arbitration awards or ball/strike calls.
Also, we can record multiple "votes" for each player, using the wisdom of crowds to get more accurate relative rankings.
I'm using the same ID numbers used by the "Lahman" baseball database. (These are very similar to the ID numbers used by baseball-reference.com).
For example, the first 10 lines of the database look like this:
If you are able to do some of your own research (even just 20 or 30 players) please e-mail it to me and I'll add it to the database.
One use for this data will be to better represent different players in the new Baseball Mogul animations. But I'll also make it public for anyone who wishes to use it for research. As with everything on this blog, the skin color database is covered by a Creative Commons license making it free to "use and remix".