Black Baseball, 1858–1900: A Comprehensive Record of the Teams, Players, Managers, Owners and Umpires

McFarland. 3 vols. Jun. 2019. 940p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786494170. pap. $99ebk. ISBN 9781476616582. REF
Long before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier or Satchel Paige pitched in the Negro leagues, generations of athletes competed in organized black baseball, beginning in the mid-19th century. Art historian and artist Brunson (Northern Illinois Univ.; The Early Image of Black Baseball) comprehensively chronicles the people, teams, and cities that make up this history, starting with the early barber and hotel waiter subcultures that gave rise to numerous teams. Profiles, organized by state and city, include well-known teams such as the Chicago Uniques and the St. Louis Black Stockings, along with lesser-known but equally important clubs such as the Utica Fearless, which was perhaps the longest-running black baseball organization in history. Each profile features informative quotes from local newspapers and citations to additional articles. This three-volume resource also offers club rosters, a directory of managers and promoters, a player register with biographies and further sources identified, and a chronology of games officiated by black umpires. In addition, extensive essays scattered throughout explore black minstrelsy, artwork depicting black baseball, black baseball’s family networks, and other topics.
VERDICT This title will be a hit among readers interested in 19th-century American cultural history and African American history, along with baseball fans wishing to know more about an important piece of the national pastime’s early story.

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