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Cracks in the Outfield Wall

The History of Baseball Integration in the Carolinas

Chris Holaday

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: The University of North Carolina Press
Published: 04/2024
Pages: 280
Subject: Sports and Recreation, Social Science, History
Print ISBN: 9781469678849
eBook ISBN: 9781469678870


The best-known story of integration in baseball is Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league color line in 1947 after coming up through the minor leagues the previous year. His story, however, differs from those of the many players who integrated the game in the Jim Crow South at all professional levels. Chris Holaday offers readers the first book-length history of baseball's integration in the Carolinas, showing its slow and unsteady progress, narrating the experience of players in a range of distinct communities, detailing the influence of baseball executives at the local and major league levels, and revealing that the changing structure of the professional baseball system allowed the major leagues to control integration at the state level. Holaday illuminates many smaller stories along the way, including desegregation in Little League and American Legion baseball, the first Black players to play in the tiny foothills town of Granite Falls, North Carolina, and the pipeline of Afro-Cuban players from Havana to the Carolina leagues.

By showing how race and the national pastime intersected at the local level, Holaday offers readers new context to understand the long struggle of equality in the game.