Florio/Shapiro: J.L. Wilkinson stood out as the only white owner in the first Negro League

From John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro at The Undefeated on May 8, 2020, with mention of SABR members Larry Lester, Phil S. Dixon, and Leslie Heaphy:

ne hundred years ago, on May 9, 1920, St. Louis residents, on foot and in cars, paraded their way along North Broadway. The procession was bathed in sunshine, spirited by three different bands, and attended by thousands of sports fans.

Their destination was Giants Park, at the corner of North Broadway and East Clarence Avenue. The celebration was for baseball. Black baseball. On this Sunday afternoon, the visiting Kansas City Monarchs were about to take on the St. Louis Giants in the Giants’ home opener. It marked, for both clubs, their first game as inaugural members of the Negro National League, the first official Negro League.

Unseen at the parade, at least in the owner’s car, was Monarchs owner J.L. Wilkinson. Easily recognized — he wore only tailored suits and parted his hair as straight as a fastball, right down the middle — Wilkinson had chosen to stay in the background, giving his seat to Quincy Gilmore, the Monarchs’ African American business manager.

Read the full article here: https://theundefeated.com/features/j-l-wilkinson-stood-out-as-the-only-white-owner-in-the-first-official-negro-league/

Originally published: May 11, 2020. Last Updated: May 11, 2020.