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The American Indian Integration of Baseball ~ Jeffrey Powers-Beck, Joseph B. Oxendine
'The American Indian Integration of Baseball is outstanding as both an historical examination of an obscure topic-Indians playing pro and amateur baseball between 1897 and 1945-and as a documentary of racial injustice, stereotyping and outright prejudice. Author Jeffrey Powers-Beck For many the entry of Jackie Robinson into Major League Baseball in 1947 marked the beginning of integration in professional baseball, but the entry of American Indians into the game during the previous half-century and the persistent racism directed toward them is not as well known. From the time that Louis Sockalexis stepped onto a Major League Baseball field in 1897, American Indians have had a presence in professional baseball. Unfortunately, it has not always been welcomed or respected, and Native athletes have faced racist stereotypes, foul epithets, and abuse from fans and players throughout their careers. The American Indian Integration of Baseball describes the experiences and contributions of American Indians as they courageously tried to make their place in America’s national game during the first half of the twentieth century.Jeffrey Powers-Beck provides biographical profiles of forgotten Native players such as Elijah Pinnance, George Johnson, Louis Leroy, and Moses Yellow Horse, along with profiles of better-known athletes such as Jim Thorpe, Charles Albert Bender, and John Tortes Meyers. Combining analysis of popular-press accounts with records from boarding schools for Native youth, where baseball was used as a tool of assimilation, Powers-Beck shows how American Indians battled discrimination and racism to integrate American baseball.
American Indian Baseball Players
On April 22, 1897 Louis Sockalexis became the first American Indian to become a Major League ballplayer with the National League Cleveland Spiders. Six years later Chief Bender became the first American Indian in the American League and one of two (Zack Wheat is the other) American Indians enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame to date. The list below is — hopefully — a comprehensive list of former major league baseball players who were also verifiable full-blooded American Indians. "The reason I went into baseball as a profession was that when I left school, baseball offered me the best opportunity both for money and achievement. I adopted it because I played baseball better than I could do anything else, because the life and the game appealed to me and because there was so little of racial prejudice in the game. There has been scarcely a trace of sentiment against me on account of birth. I have been treated the same as other men." - Chief Bender American Indian Baseball Players by Baseball Almanac Player
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