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Jim Creighton and the Essential Elements for Success

The struggles of Organized Professional Baseball (OBP) were mirrored by the Negro Leagues. They sought to harness the same elements required to make a professional sports league successful. The burdens of race and economic disparity made it even more difficult. Unlike their white counterparts, African American teams often found a larger purse by traveling to the minor cities to play baseball, the barnstorming tours, in front of appreciative crowds. League play was often only forty percent of the total games played.

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Baseball’s Color Line, Part I

Baseball is notorious for its Color Line, a practice of enforced segregation that while real and reflective of the sport of the late 19th Century, was actually applicable to only one league, the International League. Very limited exceptions permitting African American to play in Organized Professional Baseball (OPB) occurred until 1899 including within the International League.

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19th Century Base Ball – Part II

Given popular resentment against Britain and cricket’s exclusionary practices, baseball became the team sport of choice for young men of the working and emerging middle class.  As the 19th century progressed, playing baseball became part of the American identity and experience that immigrants wanting to assimilate embraced as a sign they had put their European roots behind them.

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… the end of the beginning.

This quote and the questions it posed could equally apply to the integration of baseball by Jackie Robinson, the resultant demise of the Negro Leagues and the long path to Civil Rights.  By 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and integrated Major League Baseball, I think we can say it marked “the end of the beginning”, a process that had begun in 1867, but continued in baseball and in society as a whole. 

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