Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball

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National Geographic Society, 2006 - History - 422 pages
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Celebrating African America's contribution to our great national pastime, this comprehensive, lively history combines vivid narrative, visual impact, and a unique statistical component, to recreate the excitement and passion of the Negro Leagues. Packed with stories, biographical essays, scores of archival photographs and other evocative artifacts, it is an important contribution to sports history and a wonderful tribute to the players and teams who wrote a unique chapter in the annals of baseball and American culture.

National Geographic is proud to present this compelling volume, compiled by a who's who of authorities on the subject. Drawing on years of research, Shades of Glory traces the history of black baseball from the 19th century to the first great teams, such as the Cuban Giants, and on to the era of the vibrant barnstorming teams from the East Coast, Chicago, and Cuba. The unparalleled Rube Foster started the first Negro League in 1920, with such dominant teams as the Chicago American Giants and the Kansas City Monarchs. Pittsburgh soon produced two of the greatest teams of all time, the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords, featuring such stars as Satchel Paige, John Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and many more. Their superb brand of baseball rivaled the best of the major leagues until the historic signing of Jackie Robinson by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Shades of Glory chronicles a bygone era of black baseball and the stars who were shadowed by racial prejudice, but now shine forth in all their sparkling brilliance.

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In some ways, to look at the history of black baseball is to look at the past image of civil rights in the whole of U.S. society.
For this baseball fan, Shades of Glory shows that the history of
black baseball is part heartening, seeing that, in the early days, not a vast quantity of racism came from the actual fans of the game. They simply wanted "their" clubs to field competitive teams.
At the same time, also is it disheartening and, unfortunately, not surprising to read of the cementing of the notion that "money is the root of all evil", at least as far as the African-American in 19th century baseball was concerned. And when certain white stars, who seemed to be either outright prejudiced or just plain jealous, threatened to walk away from the game rather than continue to play with their black teammates, owners and league leaders caved, dismissing the African-American players from their teams and then essentially banning them from the leagues altogether.
Author Lawrence D. Hogan has performed a valuable service to fans of the game by compiling this history of one of the most important facets of America's pastime.


Before Jim Crow
Crossing the Color Line

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Willie Wells
Bob Luke
Limited preview - 2010

About the author (2006)

Lawrence D. Hogan is a senior professor of history at Union County College in New Jersey. He is an expert on the history of black baseball and his touring exhibit on the subject has traveled nationwide.

Jules Tygiel, a history professor at San Francisco State University, is the author of Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy, and Past Time: Baseball as History, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 1939 and has become an American institution. Dedicated to chronicling and preserving baseball history and honoring the sport's foremost figures, it annually attracts more than 350,000 visitors to its home in Cooperstown, New York.

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