From Jim Provance at the Toledo Blade on September 28, 2017:
Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday signed into law a bill setting aside Oct. 7 of each year to honor the first black man to play under contract in baseball’s major leagues.
The bill will take effect in 90 days, so the first official Moses Fleetwood “Fleet” Walker Day in Ohio will be marked on Oct. 7, 2018, his 161st birthday.
Walker, a bare-handed catcher, caught less than a single season, 1884, for the Blue Stockings in Toledo. While the team soon folded, that season was as part of the American Association, which was later considered a major league and eventually merged with the National League.
In part because of Walker’s presence on the field playing alongside white players, the so-called “color barrier” was erected that prevented Walker or any other black player from again playing in the major leagues until 1947.
Walker continued to play in the minors until 1889. He died in 1924 and never saw Jackie Robinson break the color barrier.
House Bill 59 was sponsored by Reps. David Leland (D., Columbus) and Thomas West (D., Canton).
Read the full article here: http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2017/09/26/Governor-signs-bill-honoring-first-black-major-league-player.html
- Moses Fleetwood Walker gets overdue recognition from state of Ohio
- Read the SABR biography of Moses Fleetwood Walker, by John Husman
- SABR Games Project: May 1, 1884: Fleet Walker’s major-league debut
Originally published: September 28, 2017. Last Updated: September 28, 2017.