For Immediate Release
November 02, 2008
(BPRW) In the Swing of Things- African-Americans Hit Home Runs in Baseball -
During the early years, back in May 1878, John "Bud" Fowler became the first black player to play professionally, albeit in the minors, when he took the mound for the Lynn Live Oaks of the International League. Throughout the 1880's, despite a prevalence of segregation, many black players suited up for minor league teams. Finally in 1884, Moses "Fleetwood" Walker became the first black baseball player to reach the majors when his Toledo Blue Stockings joined the majors' American Association.
Then in 1945, the dynamic Jackie Robinson joined the Kansas City Monarchs (Negro American League) and played with such baseball legends as Satchel Paige and Martin Dihigo. Everyone knows that Jackie Robinson opened the way for African American players to perform in Major League Baseball.
In fact, Baseball has come a long way in the last fifty years towards recognizing the thousands of black players that initially lost opportunities. In 1997, as part of the 50th anniversary of the integration, Robinson's No. 42 was retired by every major league team. Currently 17 Negro League players are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Negro Leagues now have their own museum in Kansas City.
It’s nice to know that African Americans were able to get into the swing of things and hit home runs in baseball. Hank Aaron is the all-time home run king, while Willie Mays dazzled in the 50's and 60's. Today, black players such as Ken Griffey, Jr., Barry Bonds and Mo Vaughn are some of the top players in baseball. Additionally, the Dodgers continue to add more African American players to the roster, including such stars as Dan Bankhead, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Joe Black and Jim Gilliam. Where would we be without America’s national pastime? We must definitely continue to watch our heroes suit up, get in the swing of things, and hit home runs in baseball!
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