The Independent Carolina Baseball League, 1936–1938

Baseball Outlaws

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About the Book

Shortly after the independent Carolina League was formed in 1936, officials of the National Association of Professional Baseball—which oversaw what was known as “organized baseball,” including the major leagues—began a campaign to destroy the league. The NAPB declared the Carolina League “outlaw” and blacklisted its players because their teams were pirating professionally-contracted ballplayers with the lure of higher wages, small-town hero worship and a career off-season.
Backed into a corner, the Carolina League wore its “outlaw” label with a defiant swagger, challenging the all-powerful monopoly of organized professional baseball and its standard player contract. This complete history of the league reveals how it persevered through three tumultuous seasons, fueled by the tight-knit community spirit of North Carolina Piedmont textile towns. Over its three seasons of existence, the Carolina League attracted professional baseball players from all over the country and it gave the players control over their careers, setting a standard that was resisted until free agency was adopted in 1973.

About the Author(s)

R.G. (Hank) Utley is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and coauthor of Outlaw Ballplayers: Interviews and Profiles from the Independent Carolina Baseball League (2006). He lives in High Point, North Carolina.
Scott Verner is a news editor at The Charlotte Observer. He lives in Concord, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

R.G. (Hank) Utley and Scott Verner
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 299
Bibliographic Info: 58 photos, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2318-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8206-1
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Willie Parker Peace Award—North Carolina Society of Historians. Finalist, Dave Moore Award—Elysian Fields Quarterly. Runner-up, Seymour Medal—Society for American Baseball Research.
“this book is a godsend…clearly written…a startling amount of information…there’s a bit of something for every baseball fan in this book…thoroughly researched…a wealth of detail”—Elysian Fields Quarterly; “fabulous…expertly researched and written”—North Carolina Society of Historians; “interesting…thorough”—Nine; “a source of inestimable worth”—The North Carolina Archivist; “recommend[ed]…research is remarkable”— Classic Images; “fascinating. Baseball fans who hunger for statistical information will find this book a feast. This book is a ticket back to a time when baseball was as much a part of the fabric of many Tar Heel towns as the mill workers who played it”—Our State; “painstaking research…great stories…Utley and Verner have done a service”—Winston-Salem Journal; “fascinating”—USA Today Sports Weekly; “the saga of the era when baseball truly was king…a vast amount of research…enlightening and interesting”—The Sunday Courier (Forest City, North Carolina); “captivating…a rich collection of photographs”—Sports Collectors Digest; “meticulously researched”—Minor Trips Newsletter; “rich collection of photographs…well written and well researched…a fun read”—VCBC; “baseball was more than the national pastime—it was the national passion. Long before free agency, hated rivals like the Concord Weavers and Kannapolis Towelers competed fiercely for the best players money could buy. Their style of ball was a hard-fought, ‘do-anything-to-win’ blood sport—and it didn’t always end on the field”—The Charlotte Observer; “a real piece of history”—Independent Tribune (Concord/Kannapolis, N.C.); “more than about baseball…a slice of history that needs to be told”—Salisbury Post (N.C.)