Allardice: The first multiracial ballgame, two years earlier than previously thought

From SABR member Bruce Allardice at Our Game on January 7, 2019:

Hstorians, and by now increasingly the general public, know that the racial integration of baseball didn’t start with Jackie Robinson. In fact, the first African-American major leaguer was the otherwise obscure William Edward White, who played one game for the Providence (RI) Grays in the National League of 1879. On the amateur level, all-Black teams existed as early as 1855. African-American Luther Askin is credited as “integrating” the Eagle Baseball Club of Florence, Massachusetts in 1865, and the first credited game between “white” and African-American teams was played in Philadelphia in 1869.

Overlooked in this focus on baseball’s African-American heritage is the parallel, and in some cases preceding, racial integration of baseball in Hawaii. The first recorded baseball game between teams of different races was not in Philadelphia in 1869, but rather in 1867, in the then independent kingdom of Hawaii.

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Originally published: January 7, 2019. Last Updated: January 7, 2019.