Breaking the Color Line: 1940 to 1946
By the 1940s, organized baseball had been segregated on the basis of race for several years. Several members of the black press, as well as some of their white colleagues, have long advocated for baseball’s integration. Mr. Wendell Smith, of the Pittsburgh Courier, was particularly outspoken. After World War II, many people began to criticize segregation policies as a result of their experiences. The “great experiment” (see Jules Tygiel’sBaseball’s Great Experimentin the bibliography) was started by Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey after various persons in major league baseball attempted to remove segregation in the sport without success.
Robinson would go on to play in the major leagues for the first time the following year.
While their own teams were on the road, several owners of major league clubs rented out their stadiums to teams from the National Football League (NFL).
Some business owners were also concerned that a white audience would be hesitant to attend games featuring black athletes.
- A speech to the One Hundred Percent Wrong Club in 1956 provided Rickey with an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties he was experiencing and the circumstances that shaped his decisions during this period.
- branch rickey He is commemorated on his Hall of Fame plaque for both his role in the development of baseball’s farm system in the 1920s and his signing of Jackie Robinson.
- At the time of his employment with the Cardinals, he had been particularly dissatisfied with the team’s policy of denying African-Americans access to grandstand seats.
- Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday, October 31, 1955.) Rickey became a member of the Dodgers in 1942, and he immediately began working on efforts to introduce black players to the organization.
- He would also need to be a strong individual who could agree to refrain from engaging in open conflict when confronted with hostility and insults, at least for a period of time.
- It wasn’t until 1948 that a presidential decree desegregated the armed services, and it wasn’t until 1954 that the Supreme Court prohibited segregated public schools.
- His mother relocated the family to Pasadena, California, in 1920, and Robinson went on to attend John Muir Technical High School and Pasadena Community College before moving to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1930.
As a result, he had gained valuable expertise via participation in integrated sports.
When he was drafted in 1942, he was stationed at military stations in Kansas and Texas.
Robinson was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant shortly after.
The order was found to be in breach of Army regulations, and he was found not guilty.
Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey first met in August 1945 at the Brooklyn Dodgers’ office, after Branch Rickey had scouted a number of players from the NegroLeague.
During the discussion, Rickey disclosed that he wanted Robinson to join the Los Angeles Dodgers’ big league team.
Robinson maintained his calm and agreed to a deal with the Montreal Royals, a Triple-A minor league farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Rickey quickly signed additional black players to contracts, but Robinson remained the center of attention.
Robinson’s signing was reported in both the black and white press.
A letter from Robinson to Rickey was preserved in the Branch Rickey Papers as a response to Rickey.
When Robinson, wearing the number 42 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in April 1947, he became the first player in big league history to do so after a good season in the minor leagues with the Montreal Royals in 1946.
- Branch Rickey is the manager and owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Harold Rhodenbaugh captured this image (Look staff photographer). “A Branch Grows in Brooklyn,” Look, March 19, 1946, p. 70, contains a photomechanical reproduction of the image. (Source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction: LC-USZ62-119888)
- Jackie Robinson in Kansas City Monarchs uniform. (Source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction: LC-USZ62-119888). From the 1945 issue of The Call (Kansas City), a photograph. (From the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.) The Call has granted permission for this reprint. Ordering a reproduction (reproduction number: on order). In 1945, Robinson appeared in 47 games for the Monarchs of the Negro American League, as well as the East-West All-Star game
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Vol. 3, plates 334 and 335, edition copyrighted in 1937
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (updated 1951). Sanborn Map Company is the publisher of this map (Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division). EDR Sanborn, Inc. has granted permission for this reprint. Blues Stadium was the home of both the American Association Kansas City Blues and the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs during their respective tenures in Kansas City. The land, which had previously served as a frog pond, swimming hole, and ash heap, was transformed into a baseball field in 1923. A portable lighting system was installed on the field by J. Leslie Wilkinson, the facility’s inaugural owner, so that games in the Negro League could be played at night. Despite the fact that it took two hours to set up, this invention made it impossible for fielders to see fly balls and hitters to see pitches, and it generated so much noise that the center fielders were unable to hear the infielders. Despite the harsh circumstances produced for the players by the night-lighting system, it boosted ticket sales and allowed the Monarchs to survive the Great Depression. At the period from 1923 to 1972, when the last game was played at Blues Stadium, the stadium’s dimensions and fence height altered more frequently than in any other baseball stadium. Jackie Robinson played for the Monarchs in Blues Stadium for a brief period in 1945 before being purchased by Branch Rickey. Lobby card for the documentary The Jackie Robinson Story. Pathe Industries acquired the copyright in 1950. (Library of Congress, Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZC4-6146.) Branch Rickey conducts an interview with Jackie Robinson in this scene.
See an extract from the script as well as some lobby cards from “The Jackie Robinson Story.”
baseball – Blacks in baseball
During baseball’s early years, the National Association of Base Ball Players, the first formal organization of baseball clubs, established a color barrier by declaring in 1867 that clubs “which may be composed of one or more coloured persons” would not be permitted to compete against its teams of gentlemen amateurs. Despite the fact that there was no legal regulation prohibiting Black players from participating in the first professional league, which was founded four years later, it was well recognized that they were not welcome.
- Bettmann/Corbis Photographic Images In the early years of professionalism, the color line was not routinely enforced, although this changed with time.
- In 1884, two African Americans competed in the first major league to be recognized as such, the American Association.
- During the summer of 1887, the International League, which was one rung below the majors, had a record number of Black players on its rosters.
- At least 15 more Black athletes were playing in lower-level professional divisions, according to the report.
- This league, which was formed in 1887 in cities around the Northeast and border states, was recognized as a genuine minor league under organized baseball’s National Agreement and sparked expectations that Black players would be recruited by major league clubs.
- Despite the fact that there was never a regulation in organized baseball that said that Black players were prohibited, a so-called “gentlemen’s agreement” to exclude Black players finally won the day.
- The International League’s Syracuse (New York) Stars experienced a mutiny when pitcher Douglas (“Dug”) Crothers refused to pose for a team photo with his African-American teammate Robert Higgins.
- The game took place in Newark, New Jersey, and Stovey was the starting pitcher.
- Louis Browns, who were champions of the American Association.
We will gladly play against white people at any hour of the day or night.” The International League’s board of directors notified its secretary in the middle of the season that no additional contracts for Black players would be approved, yet it did not fire the league’s five African-American players.
It was becoming increasingly obvious that the color bar was being steadily lifted.
The Acme Colored Giants, who represented Celoron, New York, in the Iron and Oil Leagues in 1898, were the last African-American players to compete in a recognized minor league during the nineteenth century.
It was in the case of Plessy v.
Abolitionists in the South used state legislation and local ordinances to restrict African Americans’ access to public facilities and to prevent them from competing against whites in sports competition.
Nonetheless, the thought of African-American players in the major and lower leagues was not unfathomable at that point.
McGraw, manager of the Baltimore Orioles in the newly formed American League, in 1901, was unsuccessful.
Five years later, an unsuccessful attempt was made to induct African-American William Clarence Matthews, who played shortstop for Harvard University from 1902 to 1905, into the National League roster.
(A number of swarthy players in the major leagues were popularly considered to be Black, despite the fact that they claimed to be white Latin Americans.
High-caliber Black teams emerged in the Northeast and Midwest as a result of the increased number of prospective spectators in the northern United States.
The All Nations squad, which was comprised of African Americans, whites, a Japanese, a Hawaiian, an American Indian, and numerous Latin Americans, was particularly significant in this regard.
These teams competed for the fabled “colored championship of the globe” and also faced white semipro and college teams in their respective leagues.
A journeyman player may make $40 to $75 per month, but a star could earn more than $100 per month.
It was during the week when they played white clubs in surrounding towns.
In 1909, for example, theChicago Cubs defeated the Leland Giants in three tight games in a three-game series.
At one point in the late 1920s, CommissionerLandis prohibited major league teams from participating in their entirety during the off-season.
In the Midwest, a few teams barnstormed their way through the season.
It was white semipro teams from around the Midwest and southern Canada that were their opponents in this tournament.
A large influx of African Americans from the South during and after World War I resulted in the formation of theNegro National League and theNegro Eastern League in 1920 and 1921, respectively.
Louis, Kansas City (Missouri), Detroit, and other cities that absorbed a large influx of African Americans from the South during and after World War I.
Late in that decade, a second Negro National League was established, and theNegro American League, which was established in 1936, eventually had Eastern and Western divisions that, in 1952, competed in a Negro East-West matchup.
Following World War II, attendance at Negro league games decreased as great players were transferred to teams that were formerly all-white.
This issue is covered in further depth in the section under “Negro league s.” Robert W. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica