From Rhiannon Walker at The Undefeated on March 7, 2018:
Major League Baseball wanted its black and white players to integrate at team hotels and venues during spring training. The state of Florida did not want integration.
That’s how 12 of MLB’s 18 teams found themselves in the middle of an intense standoff during this week in 1961. Whispers about pulling out of the Sunshine State and moving spring training to states like California or Arizona were beginning to sound less like rumors and more like the league’s resolution to the issue.
MLB’s leadership drew its line in the sand that its black players deserved, at the minimum, the right to live and eat with their white counterparts during spring training. MLB gave Florida an ultimatum: accept the whole team in housing or prepare for a mass exodus from the state.
Originally published: March 8, 2018. Last Updated: March 8, 2018.