Ed Bolden and Black Baseball in Philadelphia


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About the Book

For nearly 40 years, Ed Bolden dominated black baseball in Philadelphia. He owned two teams, the Darby-based Hilldale Club and the Philadelphia Stars, and briefly led the Eastern Colored League, which he founded. Winner of two championships—one with each team—he experienced the highs and lows of the Negro Leagues. He remained with the Stars until his death in 1950, which foreshadowed the dissolution of the Negro Leagues in the face of Major League Baseball’s integration. This book examines Bolden’s leadership of both teams through economic downturns, racial discrimination and two world wars.

About the Author(s)

A native of the Philadelphia area and an avid Philadelphia sports fan, Courtney Michelle Smith is an associate professor of history and political science at Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Courtney Michelle Smith

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 192
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7849-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2743-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
One. A Team in Darby, 1911–1919 11
Two. The Rise, 1920–1925 22
Three. The Fall, 1925–1930 41
Four. Wilderness and Return, 1931–1933 60
Five. At the Summit, 1934 75
Six. Conflict All Around, 1935–1939 87
Seven. The War, 1940–1945 109
Eight. Twilight Time, 1946–1953 138
Conclusion 157
Chapter Notes 161
Bibliography 179
Index 181

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Smith has written the go-to book on Bolden”—NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture

• “Remarkably well researched, written, organization and presented…impressive…unreservedly recommended”—Midwest Book Review

• “Smith contributes to our knowledge of the history of black baseball with this examination of the Negro Leagues in Philadelphia, tracing the rise and fall of teams and leagues through the life of Ed Bolden, a manager, owner and league executive whose career spanned baseball’s transition from segregation to integration.”—Amy Essington, California State University, Fullerton

• “A story worth reading, and one that will introduce readers to a significant but lesser-known figure in Negro League history, Ed Bolden. Smith weaves Bolden’s baseball story both through Philadelphia’s African American history and through Negro Leagues history stretching far beyond Philadelphia.”—Leslie Heaphy, editor, Black Ball: A Negro Leagues Journal

• “Author Courtney Michelle Smith has written a short but important text to fill a gap in the literature related to black baseball.”—SABR Deadball Era Committee Newsletter