Provance: Moses Fleetwood Walker gets overdue recognition from state of Ohio

From Jim Provance at the Toledo Blade on September 21, 2017, with mention of SABR member Craig Brown:

It took three times at bat, but a bill designating one day a year in Ohio to honor the first black man to play major league baseball under contract cleared the decks of the Senate on Wednesday and is on its way to Gov. John Kasich’s desk.

And it wasn’t for Jackie Robinson.

Moses Fleetwood “Fleet” Walker, played less than a season for the Blue Stockings in Toledo, but the bare-handed catcher unknowingly made history when that short-lived team was retroactively deemed to have joined the major leagues.

The backlash by white players and team owners against playing on the same field as Walker and later his outfielder brother, Weldy, helped lead to erection of the so-called “color barrier” that Robinson would be credited with shattering in 1947.

The Senate approved the measure unanimously.

“Rarely are we given the opportunity to correct past wrongs as members of society, and I think that’s what we are talking about here,” said Craig Brown, an adjunct professor at Kent State University, whose past classes had championed the bill’s passage.

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Originally published: September 21, 2017. Last Updated: September 21, 2017.