The Page Fence Giants

A History of Black Baseball’s Pioneering Champions


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About the Book

The Page Fence Giants, an all-star black baseball club sponsored by a woven-wire fence company in Adrian, Michigan, graced the diamond in the 1890s. Formed through a partnership between black and white boosters, the team’s respectable four-year run was an early integration success—before integration was phased out decades ahead of Jackie Robinson’s 1947 debut, and the growing Jim Crow sentiment blocked the Page Fence Giant’s best talent from the major leagues. This book tells the the story of a long-ignored team at the close of the 19th century, whose Hall of Famer second baseman Sol White was but one of their best players.

About the Author(s)

Mitch Lutzke was an award-winning radio reporter before beginning his second career as a high school history teacher and coach in Michigan. He has had history themed articles published in newspapers, magazines, web pages and with SABR. He lives in Williamston, Michigan.

Bibliographic Details

Mitch Lutzke
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 274
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7165-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3273-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
1. A Baseball Crazy Town 7
2. Browne Out 10
3. Two Dreamers 24
4. The Boys Are Back in Town 34
5. It Had to Be You 41
6. The Cracker Jack Team 47
7. Reds and Gold Bugs 56
8. Giants and Demons 68
9. Umpires and June Bugs 79
10. Till Death Do Us Part 89
11. The Tumbleweed 105
12. And Then There Was One 113
13. The Second Season 131
14. The First Championship Series 141
15. Sinister Legislation 147
16. Hey, Don’t Drink the Lemonade 155
17. Here Come the Giants 163
18. Lima Northern 175
19. The Homeless Season 182
20. Losing Things 190
21. Large Crowds and the White Giant 200
22. A War of Words 208
23. The Last Summer 216
24. Steel Away 224
Epilogue 233
PFG Master Roster 235
Statistics 237
1896 Championship Series Scores 241
Chapter Notes 242
Bibliography 253
Index 257

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Winner, Michigan Notable Book Award—The Michigan Department of Education and the Library of Michigan
  • “The book will interest local historians and dedicated fans of the history of minor league ball…recommended”—Choice
  • “Extraordinarily informative…an exceptionally impressive and unique history…recommended”—Midwest Book Review
  • “The author has done an impressive amount of research and written a fascinating story of a little-known chapter in the history of baseball”—Michigan in Books.