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The Story of Negro League Baseball

by Michael L. Cooper

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-67407-1
Publisher: Dutton

 After black players were excluded from organized baseball near the end of the 19th century, they created leagues, barnstorming teams, and an annual All-Star Game (the East-West All-Star Classic) that often rivaled the Bigs in attendance and income. Combining sharp photos and a simply phrased text, Cooper reviews the era's great players--from Bud Fowler (.350 batting average in 1887) and Rube Foster (pitcher, team owner, and founder of the Negro National League) to Martin Dihigo (Hall of Famer in four countries) and the durable Satchel Paige. While acknowledging the prejudice black players faced, the author also points out how often they played against white teams; it was never a secret that the Negro Leagues fielded many stars of major-league caliber. Cooper devotes a chapter to the flow of players to and from Latin America and ends with a look at the heady post-WW II decades, during which the color barrier began to drop, the whole sport was revitalized, and Negro Leaguers were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. A tantalizing glimpse into the sport's checkered past, and a readable gateway to Dixon's pictorial Negro Baseball Leagues, 1867-1955 (1992) and Holway's oral histories (Black Diamonds, 1989, is the most recent). Photos; lists of books and other sources; index. (Nonfiction. 11-13)