Hogan: ‘Inside dope’ on prison baseball in the 1920s

From SABR member Larry Hogan at The National Pastime Museum on August 27, 2015:

Who would ever want to take a journey to several Midwestern prisons during the 1920s? Surprisingly, the answer is a real baseball fan.

Who would expect baseball of considerable quality to be played in these prisons—and sometimes outside the prison walls? This essay will go inside the walls to catch a glimpse of African-American prison baseball. African-American newspapers such as the Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, and the Kansas City Call reported on this baseball microcosm, making the case that the talent was newsworthy. This tour of black prison baseball looks at the African-American weeklies of the 1920s and merely scratches the surface of this “inside dope” by sharing some of the best stories.

STOP #1 Our baseball prison journey begins with an account from the Kansas City Call of May 6, 1922. This first stop appears to be outside the prison walls in Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri. A highly touted and recently organized club called the Mohawks is scheduled on Sunday to take on what is simply called the Prison Team. Present at the game will be a 36-piece band to provide the music, with the mayor of the city, Honorable P. C. Hunt, to throw out the first ball. The reporter ends his piece by noting that a grand time is expected. Unfortunately, we have no follow up of the game account, but one can imagine it must have been a grand time for the Prison Team.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/inside-dope-though-few-know-it

Originally published: August 27, 2015. Last Updated: August 27, 2015.