Integration In Major League Baseball Essay

1392 words - 6 pages

When asked to describe a baseball the first word generally voiced is white, and before April 15, 1947 that is exactly what the game of baseball was, white. “There is no law against Negroes playing with white teams, or whites with colored clubs, but neither has invited the other for the obvious reason they prefer to draw their talent from their own ranks” (‘42’). These were the feelings of people living in 1947, that blacks and whites were not meant to play baseball together. Then, why decades earlier, had there been an African American in the league? In 1887, an African American Pitcher, George Stovey, was expected to pitch a game with Chicago, however, the first baseman, Cap Anson, would not play as long as Stovey was on the field. Other influential players in the league quickly joined Anson in expressing their disgust, and Stovey suddenly found himself no longer in the game. “In the six decades that followed the only other attempt to sign a black player was made by Baltimore's Joan McGraw. He tried to pass of Charlie Grant as an American Indian in spring training of 1901” (Frommer 65). It had been years since anyone had even attempted to play an African American, but on April 15, 1947, the whole world of baseball changed. The fight for the integration of Major League Baseball had been going on for decades and it took not only some very influential players, but the press, and some determined owners to make the change permanent.
When people think of the integration of Major League Baseball, the often remember the name Jackie Robinson. On April 15, 1947, “Jackie Robinson, a black man, played first base for the Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York, shattering baseball's age-old color line” (Stewart 49). Robinson was the first African American player in the major leagues in six decades. Jackie Robinson had a world of hatred to work with in baseball, spectators spit on him. shouted obscene things, and threatened his life. Hotels and restaurants refused to accommodate him and often the whole team. Some teammates even refused to play as long as he was on the team. Through all this Robinson still showed to be the team’s most valuable player, securing not only his future, but other African American players like Larry Doby.
Larry Doby was the second African American player in the mlb and the first in the American League. Doby was signed, “with the Cleveland Indians in 1947” (Editors), the same year as Jackie Robinson. Like Robinson, “Doby was excluded from many segregated hotels and restaurants frequented by teammates, received numerous death threats” (Editors). Doby faced the same circumstances as Jackie Robinson, but Robinson already had so much publicity that Doby was mostly overlooked at the time.
Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby were very determined to stick with the game they loved and to make a change. Thanks to their performance both on and off the ball field, “other owners began to seek talented black players, and by 1952, there were...

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