From Richard Goldstein at the New York Times on February 7, 2019:
When Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, becoming the first African-American player in modern major league baseball, he was not only a trailblazer in the sports world, but an inspiring figure in the modern civil rights movement.
But Robinson was not the first ballplayer in the long history of big league baseball known to be an African-American. That distinction belongs to Moses Fleetwood Walker.
Walker made his debut in the American Association, one of the two major leagues of his time, on May 1, 1884, as a catcher for the Toledo Blue Stockings in their game in Louisville against the Eclipse squad. When Robinson signed his major league contract, The New York Times mentioned Walker briefly, but he had played in the majors for only one season and had been largely been forgotten.
Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/obituaries/moses-fleetwood-walker-overlooked.html
- Read our biography of Moses Fleetwood Walker at the SABR BioProject
- May 1, 1884: Fleet Walker’s major-league debut (SABR Games Project)
Originally published: February 8, 2019. Last Updated: February 8, 2019.