Tye: Negro Leaguers took a (barnstorming) road to equality

From Larry Tye at BaseballHall.org on February 24, 2016:

More typical, Giants infielder Jack Marshall said, were monotonous road trips where he ate sardines out of a Bell Fruit jar and was told by a shopkeeper he could not buy milk because it was white. Babe Ruth barnstormed, as did Dizzy Dean, Josh Gibson, Bob Feller, Cool Papa Bell, and other future Hall of Famers, white and black, with that wayfaring way of playing continuing into the early 1960s.

No player barnstormed as wide or far, for as long, as Paige. It suited his disposition: He was eager to follow the sun and money wherever they took him. Barnstorming let him live each day as it came, and days as a vagabond ballplayer offered boundless adventure and variety. He generated more offers than anyone, picking up as much as $500 for as few as three innings. Promoters knew he could fill the stands as well as mow down batters, so they booked him despite knowing he might not show. All of which makes feasible his fantastic claim to have pitched for as many as 250 teams over the course of his career.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballhall.org/discover/road-to-equality

Originally published: February 24, 2016. Last Updated: February 24, 2016.