Black Baseball, 1858–1900

A Comprehensive Record of the Teams, Players, Managers, Owners and Umpires

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About the Book

This is one of the most important baseball books to be published in a long time, taking a comprehensive look at black participation in the national pastime from 1858 through 1900. It provides team rosters and team histories, player biographies, a list of umpires and games they officiated and information on team managers and team secretaries. Well known organizations like the Washington’s Mutuals, Philadelphia Pythians, Chicago Uniques, St. Louis Black Stockings, Cuban Giants and Chicago Unions are documented, as well as lesser known teams like the Wilmington Mutuals, Newton Black Stockings, San Francisco Enterprise, Dallas Black Stockings, Galveston Flyaways, Louisville Brotherhoods and Helena Pastimes.
Player biographies trace their connections between teams across the country. Essays frame the biographies, discussing the social and cultural events that shaped black baseball. Waiters and barbers formed the earliest organized clubs and developed local, regional and national circuits. Some players belonged to both white and colored clubs, and some umpires officiated colored, white and interracial matches. High schools nurtured young players and transformed them into powerhouse teams, like Cincinnati’s Vigilant Base Ball Club. A special essay covers visual representations of black baseball and the artists who created them, including colored artists of color who were also baseballists.

About the Author(s)

James E. Brunson III is an art historian who specializes in American Modernism. His work has been published in NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, and Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game. A practicing artist who specializes in watercolor painting, he currently teaches visual culture at Northern Illinois University.

Bibliographic Details

James E. Brunson III
Format: softcover (8.5 x 11 in 3 vols.)
Pages: 434
Bibliographic Info: 85 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9417-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1658-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Volume 1
Acknowledgments vi
Foreword by John Thorn 1
Preface 3
Introduction: The Scribbling Class 5
“They Covered Themselves in Glory”: The Lost Baseball World of the New Negro (Essay) 15
Team Profiles, 1858–1900 35
Club Rosters, 1858–1900 277
Directory: Managers, Promoters and Other Contacts, 1867–1900 407
Volume 2
Brothers and Brotherhood: Black Baseball’s Family Networks (Essay) 427
Empire and Pastime: The Objectification of Black Baseball (Essay) 437
Player Register, A–L 453
Volume 3
Player Register, M–Z 931
A Matter of Ability, and Not Color: The Rise of Black Umpires (Essay) 1317
Black Umpires: A Chronology of Games, 1858–1900 1323
The Politics of Performance: Music, Minstrelsy and Black Baseball (Essay) 1331
Appendix: The Families of Nineteenth Century Black Baseball 1337
Bibliography 1361
Index 1367

Book Reviews & Awards

  • A Booklist Starred Review
  • “This exceptional work documents the early history of Black baseball in the United States. …excellent essays provide context, covering the value of baseball to company employees and how Black baseball was portrayed in the (predominantly white) media. …this groundbreaking reference source serves as a memoir of those who pioneered the sport, despite odds against them”—Booklist
  • “A comprehensive collection of biographies…. With many think pieces bemoaning the overwhelming ‘whiteness’ of the national pastime, this title on the black experience with baseball, between the years 1858 and 1900, is timely…. Essays explore historical and cultural events that impacted the sport.”—Library Journal
  • “A monument in baseball literature.”—John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball.