Eberle: Bert Wakefield and the end of integrated minor-league baseball in Kansas

From SABR member Mark Eberle at Monographs on July 2, 2018:

Bert Wakefield was a lifelong resident of Troy, Kansas, where he was an active member of the community—business owner, member of social organizations, and musician. Wakefield was also an African American who played on several integrated and black baseball teams through the 1890s and early 1900s, including the Chicago Unions, Chicago Union Giants, Algona (Iowa) Brownies, Renville (Minnesota) All-Stars, and the original Kansas City Monarchs.

In addition, Wakefield served as a captain of the mostly white Troy minor league team in the Kansas State League in 1895. In this role, he joined Bud Fowler, who captained minor league teams in Vermont (1887) and Nebraska (1892). Wakefield also umpired at least one ballgame between two white teams. Two other black ballplayers from Kansas—Bert Jones from Hiawatha and Monroe Ingram from Coffeyville—also played for minor league teams in Kansas during 1896–1898, making the state one of the last to have openly integrated minor league teams in the nineteenth century.

This biography recounts Bert Wakefield’s experiences in baseball—with supporting appearances by Jones, Ingram, and other Kansas ballplayers. The story of Bert Wakefield and his fellow Kansans also intersects on the diamond with the baseball careers of men associated with the segregation of organized baseball, the organization of the Negro Leagues, and the reintegration of major league baseball. In addition, this story features an umpire from South Dakota who was an exception to the pervasive exclusion of women from professional baseball.

Read the full article here (PDF): https://works.bepress.com/mark-eberle/5/

Originally published: July 2, 2018. Last Updated: July 2, 2018.