Before the barrier…

I am sure most folks have heard about the new Jackie Robinson movie coming out.

42 tells the tale of the breaking of baseballs color barrier.

What many don’t know is that the color barrier wasn’t always there.

60 years earlier there were a small number of black players in major league baseball. There is debate over who was the first. Many believe it was a guy named Moses “Fleetwood” Walker.
moses walker
Moses spent a year as the backstop for the Toledo blue Stocking back in 1884.

He bated around .260 and was a wiz behind the plate. He was known for having a rocket arm. At least one of his pitchers admitted to refusing to listening to his called pitches due to his being black. What a jerk.

After baseball he went on to own a hotel, a movie theater and become an inventor. He was also a member of Oberlin College’s first baseball team before going to play at Michigan.

Other say it was this guy, Bud Fowler.
fowler
Records on Bud are scarce. There are newspaper articles listing him on a roster as far back as 1878. He pitched in at least one of his early games. He is also listed as having a .309 in 1886 playing in Topeka. Another article called him “…a genius on the ball field…”.

Bud would seem to be the first black man to play profesional baseball, the debate is did he play major league ball.

As near as I can tell the only cards either guy has are from Tri Star Obak.

In 1889 the color barrier went up and well, you know the rest.

-K-

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