The Integration of Baseball in Philadelphia
The release of Ken Burns' documentary Baseball in 1994 and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut in the major leagues in 1997 once again brought attention to the integration of baseball. Integration did not guarantee equality or even begin to solve baseball's race-related struggles. In some instances, integration caused even more problems for the African American players and their white teammates. This was the case in Philadelphia, where, among other discriminatory actions, Phillies manager Ben Chapman instructed his players to verbally abuse Jackie Robinson. This work examines how Philadelphia acquired a reputation as a tough place for African American players. It follows the very slow and difficult progress of integration of the Philadelphia Phillies and Athletics. Attempts to integrate Philadelphia baseball began being made as early as the 1860s, and all of them proved futile until 1953. Those attempts and the reasons that they failed are discussed. The book provides biographical and statistical information on some of the African American players who were confronted with discrimination, and also looks at the white players, managers, coaches, and front office personnel who were having a difficult time accepting African American players on their teams.
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