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Black athletes were barred from playing baseball in the major and minor leagues prior to 1946 with few exceptions. The implementation of the color line in organized baseball during the nineteenth century has been the focus of thorough research. Less studied is integrated baseball among independent town teams, and this research has focused on particular players or circumstances rather than an entire state or region across a broad span of baseball history. Integrated teams in Kansas provide a unique opportunity to examine their history at these larger scales. Prior to 1946, major league baseball was essentially concentrated east of the Mississippi River, which placed Kansas on the sport’s broad western frontier. Also, the role of Kansas in the prelude to the Civil War placed the state on the boundary separating North from South. In addition to the geographical context, most newspapers published in the state prior to 1923 and several published after that year have been digitized. Collectively, these circumstances make Kansas well suited to serve as a case study of the broader history of integrated baseball from 1865 to 1945. This book begins with biographies of more than 80 Black baseballists who played or umpired games with white or predominantly white town teams and minor league clubs, as well as predominantly Black teams that had white players. With the foundation provided by these experiences, the questions of why, when, and where integrated town teams took the field are examined and placed within the context of segregation and exclusion across the broader community.
integrated baseball, segregated baseball, town team baseball, minor league baseball, Kansas baseball, color line.
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© The Author(s)
Eberle, Mark E., "Integrated Baseball in Kansas during the Sport's Era of Segregation" (2022). Monographs. 33.