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Hoskins broke barriers in Texas League

Right-hander continued integration of Minor League Baseball
April 13, 2020

April 15, 1947 might be baseball's moment to cherish, but the historical significance of that date transcends the sport. When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the diamond on a chilly spring afternoon at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field as a member of the Dodgers, he left an indelible mark not only on the

Questions plague Peeples' trailblazing story

Outfielder demoted after breaking Southern Association barrier
January 29, 2020

Minor League Baseball is known for its rich history dating back more than 100 years. While much has been written about the best teams and top players who have graced the Minors, there remain many stories either untold or largely forgotten. Each week, will attempt to fill that gap

Integration spread from field to stands

Minor Leagues helped hasten overdue changes in South
January 15, 2020

It was 10 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and even three years after the breakthrough Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education, but in places like Durham, N.C., that didn't matter much. Segregation was still pretty universal.Things were starting to shift

Class D trailblazer turned to teaching

Jones was first African American in the Georgia-Florida League
December 5, 2019

Minor League Baseball is known for its rich history dating back more than 100 years. While much has been written about the best teams and top players who have graced the Minors, there remain many stories either untold or largely forgotten. Each week, will attempt to fill that gap

Roberts, Thomas unsung baseball pioneers

First black managers to face off met in the Northwest League
November 1, 2019

There was no pre-game ceremony, no frilly speeches or big-time photo ops. There wasn't any national attention, either. In fact, the local paper only had a headline and a paragraph or two about what took place on the night of June 27, 1987 in Boise, Idaho.The significance of the event

Righty Spearman finished what he started

Hurler tossed 33 consecutive complete games from 1957-59
November 1, 2019

What Al Spearman was able to accomplish during a remarkable 18-month period in the late 1950s remains one of the most unheralded feats in all of Minor League Baseball.Yet the fact that he pitched an astounding 33 consecutive complete games seems to remain a bittersweet memory for the durable right-hander,

Tugerson made pitch for integration in '53

Shunned by Cotton States, led Smokies to MSL championship
October 29, 2019

Jim Tugerson is an overlooked name in the baseball annals. Instead of being widely remembered as a leading figure in the integration of America's pastime, he is the mostly forgotten roommate of a Hall of Famer.Six years after Jackie Robinson broke the Major Leagues' color barrier -- and six years

Robinson made mark in Minor Leagues recalls Jackie's path, legacy on centennial of his birth
January 31, 2019

Thursday marks 100 years since the birth of perhaps baseball's greatest hero. Jackie Robinson's lifetime of accomplishment was so remarkable that to consider a single aspect of it undermines the whole. To focus on him as a socio-political figure is to risk forgetting he was one of the most electric

The year after Jackie, Ritchey integrated PCL

This season marks 70th anniversary of San Diegan's breakthrough
February 21, 2018

John Ritchey never wanted to make history."He just wanted to play baseball and be judged on his ability and not the color of his skin," baseball historian Bill Swank said. In a better time or in a better world, he may have gotten his wish. But Ritchey was an African-American man

Jethroe blazed way through Triple-A

Negro Leagues star became 33-year-old Rookie of the Year
February 2, 2011

He was well past his prime by the time he got a chance in integrated ball, but Sam Jethroe didn't waste a minute once he got to the big leagues. At 33, he became the oldest player to win a Rookie of the Year award, a mark that still stands.

Claxton created an accidental legacy

Canadian pitcher was first black man on a baseball card
February 22, 2010

Zeenut Baseball cards are highly sought after by collectors -- for good reason. The San Francisco-based candy company issued sets of Pacific Coast League trading cards between 1911-38. This was before the westward expansion of Major League Baseball, during a time when the PCL was widely recognized as a third

Minors was last test for Gilliam, Howard

First African-American IL MVPs showed heart, leadership
February 1, 2010

Arlene Howard still recalls the first time she saw her husband doing what he loved."I remember seeing him [when I was] in high school in St. Louis. He was playing for the semi-pro team," she said. "The whole country was segregated back then, of course."At the time, neither she nor

The 'Prince' could wow a crowd

Known to play ball in a tux, Henry later penned newspaper column
February 16, 2009

Joe Henry played only two seasons in the Minor Leagues in the early 1950s, making a greater mark during two stints in the Negro Leagues. But his presence was felt by teammates, fans and all who knew him.Henry was scouted and signed to play second base for the Memphis Red

Minors sparkled with 'new' stars in 1949

Several Negro League veterans made waves as Triple-A rookies
February 9, 2009

When it comes to the integration of Minor League Baseball, it would be very difficult to top the significance of 1946.That was the year that five black players made their debuts in the previously all-white world of the Minor Leagues. Jackie Robinson led the charge, of course, rocketing to stardom

In Jersey City, statue marks Jackie's triumph

Robinson landmark honors site of legend's first game in Minors
February 2, 2009

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey -- Sy Hart, an African-American Jersey City resident in his late 20s, walks by the 14-foot statue of Jackie Robinson at the Journal Square PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) Station almost every day, and he often thinks about why it's there."Jackie Robinson started off with the Brooklyn

Roosevelt Stadium key in baseball history

Robinson broke color barrier, Irvin starred in Jersey City
February 2, 2009

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Almost every baseball fan has heard the story of Roosevelt Stadium's most famous day. At the Minor League ballpark in Jersey City, N.J., on April 18, 1946, Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier by playing in the first integrated professional game in decades.Playing for the Triple-A

Walker's interests were far and wide

Baseball was just one of many pursuits for Renaissance man
February 18, 2008

Even if Moses Fleetwood Walker had never played professional baseball, his life story would have been an exceedingly interesting one. Walker was a well-educated and restless Renaissance man who logged time as an inventor, entrepreneur, lecturer and newspaper publisher (among many other professional and leisurely diversions). He also suffered from

Batboy barrels way into Hall of Fame

Reliford broke Georgia State League color barrier at age of 12
January 2, 2007

Minor League Baseball is known for its rich history dating back more than 100 years. While much has been written about the best teams and top players who have graced the Minors, there remain many stories either untold or largely forgotten. Each week, will attempt to fill that gap

Newcombe, Campanella unsung heroes

Minor League teammates battled racism with optimism in 1946
August 9, 2006

RANCHO PALOS VERDE, Calif. -- The stories surrounding Jackie Robinson's journey as he broke baseball's color barrier have become legendary. The struggles he endured and how he handled them have been chronicled often, deservedly helping Robinson achieve icon status, not only as a baseball player but as a leader in

Baseball set stage for country legend Pride

Mississippi native aimed for Cooperstown, landed in Nashville
February 26, 2006

An element of uncertainty and ambiguity pervades Charley Pride's life, specifically the portions that involve his days in the Minor Leagues. But one thing has always been clear: he wouldn't be easily deterred from his dream of playing baseball.The fuzziness traces all the way back to the name the country

'Dandy' of a player never reached bigs

Hall of Famer Dandridge played in Minors late in career
February 20, 2006

As a member of the Newark Eagles in 1937, Ray Dandridge was part of what was known as the "Million Dollar Infield." Had he come into baseball in a different era, the million-dollar label could have easily been used to describe his salary, not just his skill set. Instead, the

O'Ree gave up baseball for greater purpose

Former Minor Leaguer turned blind eye to color barrier in NHL
February 13, 2006

When Willie O'Ree met Jackie Robinson in 1949, Robinson asked him what sports he played. The 14-year-old O'Ree, who was visiting New York because his baseball team won a local championship, told Robinson he played baseball and hockey. Robinson was surprised to hear that, telling O'Ree that there weren't any

Paige added to legacy during stint in Minors

Legendary hurler succeeded well past his prime
February 6, 2006

The line between truth and tall tale is often blurred when discussing Satchel Paige. Many have called him the greatest pitcher whoever lived, offering stories from the two decades he played in the Negro Leagues as proof.Though it wouldn't be difficult to argue that he was the greatest pitcher on

Charles: 'Blacks had to be twice as good'

Robinson disciple endured racism in Minors in Deep South
February 1, 2006

It was 1952, five years after Jackie Robinson made history by breaking baseball's color barrier. That year, Ed Charles -- a self-proclaimed disciple of Robinson -- entered the Minor Leagues as a 19-year-old. Signed by the Boston Braves straight out of high school, Charles played professional baseball during one of