Images and Context for the Segregation and Integration of Baseball in the US
- Octavius Catto and the Philadelphia Pythians, late 1860s
- Fleetwood and Welday Walker, George Stovey, and Cap Anson
- Charlie Grant, alias "Chief Tokohoma"
- Sol White, early player, writer, entrepreneur, and writer
- The NLBPA website is a fine reference guide to the history of the Negro Leagues, and to black baseball in Jim Crow times before the rise of the Negro Leagues
- Another good reference: the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's eMuseum
- Latino ballplayers played in the major leagues throughout the 20th century. Before 1947, of course, they were segregated by skin color; the more visibly "white" of the Latin players were welcome in the majors, darker men were not
- American Indian ballplayers were quite welcome in the majors, where many of them played before 1947 (a disturbing percentage of them nicknamed "Chief"). Surprisingly few Native Americans have played major-league baseball since the general integration of organized ball
- Among white Americans, some were, as it were, whiter than others. The few Jewish stars in early-20th-century baseball were always singled out for comment, and sometimes for abuse, as when Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers threatened Babe Ruth's home run record in 1938. (Just incidentally, an enduring element of Ruth's mystique was the possibility that he had African-American ancestry.) Joe DiMaggio read this about his Italian-American heritage in Life magazine: "Instead of olive oil or smelly bear grease DiMaggio keeps his hair slick with water. He never reeks of garlic and prefers chicken chow mein to spaghetti"
- There was never an explicit ban on players of color in organized ball. But nobody dared to sign such a player while Judge Landis was alive. The closest approach may have been made by entrepreneur Bill Veeck in 1943, though historians differ on the trustworthiness of the story
- Veeck may not have come close to signing black players in 1943, but in 1947 he quickly emulated Branch Rickey by bringing Larry Doby to the Cleveland Indians, thus integrating the American League
- The National League integrated much more swiftly than the American. (Map of major-league franchises in 1947.) By the mid/late 1950s, most NL teams had one or two major stars of color: the Dodgers (Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe); the Giants (Monte Irvin, Willie Mays); the Cubs (Ernie Banks); the Reds (Frank Robinson); the Braves (Sam Jethroe, Bill Bruton, Henry Aaron); and the Pirates (Roberto Clemente). The St. Louis Cardinals integrated a bit more slowly, but on a large scale, in the late 1950s (Bill White, Curt Flood, Bob Gibson); the Phillies were the only NL club to drag their feet.
- Meanwhile, American League teams integrated much more slowly. The Indians added Satchel Paige, helping them win a World Series in 1948. But the only other AL team quick to integrate was the Chicago White Sox, who for a while cornered the market on Latin players of all skin colors, including Minnie Minoso (acquired from Cleveland), Chico Carrasquel, Jim Rivera, and Luis Aparicio. Elston Howard became the first black Yankee in 1955, but for many years was the only black Yankee, and rode the bench while Yogi Berra was the team's regular catcher.
- By 1975, about 25% of all major leaguers were African-American. In the 2000s, that figure was down to about 8%. At the same time, a disproportionate number of major-leaguers now hail from the Dominican Republic; Dominicans have displaced both African- and Anglo-Americans on big-league rosters. Baseball continues to integrate, as major stars have arrived from Japan (Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui), Korea (Chan Ho Park), and Taiwan (Chien-Ming Wang)
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