Anyone familiar with…baseball and its history…knows by now of the great Negro Leagues…and then of Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers. But relatively few know of an even longer and more unusual story, and one that confounds many of our expectations about life in the Jim Crow era. It is the story of interracial baseball, played before thousands of avid fans of both races in virtually all corners of the United States for decades before formal integration took place.
um, what? did not know … didn’t really think about …
Interracial games had been a part of baseball for almost as long as the game has been played. Beginning as early as 1869 in Philadelphia, and becoming a component of professionalized baseball culture by the 1880s, teams of black players and teams of white players stepped out onto the diamonds and went at it for nine innings. Remarkably enough, it was possible for a team like the All Nations (with a roster of blacks, Native Americans, Cubans, Polynesians, Asians, and Italians) to “barnstorm” the country between 1912 and 1920, before they were transformed into the legendary Kansas City Monarchs of the original Negro National League.
getting. bold, mine. more, here.