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Two essays amend and expand what has been published about two Ohio natives who played baseball in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the sport became increasingly segregated. The first essay clarifies the early years of Sol White, a Black ballplayer from Bellaire, Ohio, who played on integrated amateur teams in his hometown beginning in 1883, as well as the integrated first nine in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1886-1887 and the segregated Pittsburgh Keystones in 1887-1888. About this same time, Richard Male, who was born in Columbus but was a longtime resident of Cleveland, played under the pseudonym Richard Johnson for white town teams in Ohio before joining low-level minor league clubs in Zanesville, Ohio and in Illinois. However, he was not signed by a high-level minor league or major league clubs after stories spread that he was Black. As with his contemporary, Charles “Bumpus” Jones of Cedarville, Ohio, another ballplayer with light skin, the question of whether Male was Black or white was answered differently in his hometown than in the world of organized baseball.


Solomon White, Sol White, Richard Johnson, Dick Johnson, Richard Male, Dick Male, baseball history, integrated baseball, segregated baseball, color line, Ohio baseball, Bellaire baseball, Peoria baseball, Springfield baseball, Wheeling baseball, Zanesville baseball.


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Integrated Baseball in Ohio, 1883-1900: Sol White and Richard Male

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