From Clinton Riddle at The Baseball Magazine on February 25, 2016:
It’s 1886. You’re a professional baseball player; young, just hitting your prime.
You’re a pitcher, and quite a good one at that. By age eighteen, you’re playing for a semi-pro team. By age 20, you’re in the pros with a minor-league team. By the end of the next year, you’ve won a total of 50 games and allowed less than two runs every nine innings in the process of doing so.
You’re now twenty-one, a pro athlete and at the top of your game. And you’re black.
Most of us wouldn’t give that a second thought, but this is 2016 and this sort of thing is hardly worth a second thought. The irony is that, in 1887, which is where we now find ourselves in this little trip down Memory Lane, it really hadn’t been an issue until then. I say “until then” because from the time immediately after the Civil War until that particular year, black and white players often played on the same team. Yes, black players still faced many of the same societal roadblocks off the field but, while they were on that ball diamond, it didn’t matter in many regions of the country. “Until” can signify considerable or abrupt change.
In this case, it most certainly was. George Stovey would likely speak to that matter if we were able to ask him.
Read the full article here: http://thebaseballmagazine.com/2016/02/25/stoveys-forgotten-legacy-more-than-a-ballplayer/
Originally published: February 29, 2016. Last Updated: February 29, 2016.