Beyond Baseball’s Color Barrier: The Story of African Americans in Major League Baseball, Past, Present, and Future

Rowman & Littlefield. May 2021. 216p. ISBN 9781538149089. $32. SPORTS
In 1889, Moses Fleetwood Walker was the last Black baseball player to compete at a major league level, until the day Jackie Robinson set foot on Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947. In this fantastic chronicle of Black baseball players, Constantino (50 Moments That Defined Major League Baseball) highlights some of the most important athletes to ever grace the game, including Hank Aaron, Vida Blue, Dwight Gooden, Reggie Jackson, and Willie Mays. Their stories are supplemented by Constantino’s interview with Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, MO. The individual players’ narratives are part of a larger story about the racism in 20th-century baseball. The book spends much time on Jackie Robinson, and on the Black players who were relegated to the International League or the Minor League. Constantino successfully brings to life the stories of perhaps lesser-known players, like Jim O’Rourke. The book also touches on Indigenous baseball players and the long history of Cuban players in the Major Leagues.
VERDICT A fascinating and important look at baseball history, which will be appreciated by any fan of the sport.
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