Lutzke: Were the Page Fence Giants major-league caliber?

From SABR member Mitch Lutzke at Tigers History on July 9, 2019:

One of the frustrating aspects of dealing with history is placing an event into its proper historical context. In the baseball world, Deadball Era stars are examined against the steroid-juiced players of the 1990s. Debating the worth of pitchers has fans looking at data from a time where you were supposed to “finish what you start” to the current use of an “opener.” However, the most problematic issue may be comparing black ball players with their white counterparts, before the major league color line was broken in 1947.

While in 2006 the National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted nearly two dozen long ignored and deserving black players into the shrine, others today remain on the outside looking in. Members of the 1896 black world champions Page Fence Giants club are stuck in the era where very few game statistics exist, and black players were relegated to a few teams. However, a look at anecdotal evidence indicates that major league caliber ball players existed on this long ignored black club.

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Originally published: July 10, 2019. Last Updated: July 10, 2019.