Makeover Monday week 6, 2018: Baseball Demographics 1947-2016

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During week 6 we’re kicking off a #BlackHistoryMonth collaboration with #VizForSocialGood, #StorytellingWithData and Data for Democracy to focus on topics highlighting integration (or lack thereof) over the past few decades and centuries.

Our dataset looks at Baseball demographics with this original viz from the Society for American Baseball Research.



What works well:

  • The decline of white players is very visible
  • The colours are distinct but only for people who don’t have colour blindness
  • The title is succinct and clear
  • Starting the timeline at 1946 is a good idea to show a single year with only White players for context and to relate it back to the background story in the article


What could be improved:

  • Stacked bar charts can be difficult to interpret, because only the bars that border the 0% and the 100% lines have an even base to compare from. The length of the ‘Black’ bar (in green) depends on the length of the White (red) and Latino (purple) bars, which means patterns are difficult to identify
  • Using a colour palette that includes red and green is not a good idea as this will impact comprehension for people with colour blindness
  • For my brain it is a challenge to associate the colours red with white and green with black.
  • The colour legend is in the way and so prominent because of it’s white background. It would be better located at the right side of the viz next to each of the coloured bars for 2016
  • The white space between the bars makes it hard to focus on the viz for longer than a few seconds, making the bars thicker would help


What I did:

  • Looked at the increase of minorities in MLB over the past decades
  • Aimed for a simple viz that painted the ‘picture of integration in MLB’, hence the borders
  • Spent about an hour formatting the dashboard only to find Tableau Public making super annoying lines appear in my viz after publishing it, so here is an image of what it should look like…

Integration in Major League Baseball.png

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